When Koli, a fishermen's folk dance was in progress at the cultural event at the Holy Name School in Colaba, the U.S. first lady waltzed in among the children danced without missing a step. A few moments later, Mr. Obama joined in too.
President Barack Obama is showing a softer side of his agenda in India, chatting with high school students and revelling in the celebration of a major festival.
The president and his wife, Michelle, are making a point to incorporate India’s culture into their three-day visit to India. They spent their Sunday morning at Holy Name High School, where students in their school uniforms gave the Obamas a detailed explanation of one of their projects - a miniature village with a windmill running power to it.
The Obamas also watched a cultural performance in honour of Diwali. Mr. Obama has called it an honour to be the first president to celebrate the festival of lights at the White House last year.
The Obamas, who lit a lamp to mark the celebrations, were greeted by the students in traditional Indian attire as they interacted with the children, shaking hands and posing for pictures. The students were seen gleefully clicking the couple’s photos using cellphone cameras.
The cheering and clapping Obamas seemed so charmed by the tune and the performance of the children during the ‘Koli’ dance - which gives expression to the culture and identity of Maharashtrian fisherfolk - that they joined the students and danced with them.
At first, it was Ms. Michelle who showed her dancing skills by matching the steps with the children. Later, the children took Obama to the floor to shake a leg. The couple posed for a number of a photographs with the children and gave autographs.
Wearing a white shirt and dark trousers, 49-year-old Obama rolled up his sleeves and willingly posed for photographs.
Even teachers sought his autograph while Ms. Michelle, 46, dressed in a pink top and a check skirt, mingled with the teaching staff.
Ms. Michelle appeared to be a quick learner as she matched the ‘Koli’ dance steps with the children with great elan.
Mr. Obama took a little time to adjust himself to the steps but it did not take away the charm of the gesture.
The hall where the programme took place was decked up with fresh flowers and banters made of leaves.
One of the student performers later said Mr. Obama liked their dance and described it as ” graceful, nice and beautiful“.
“Mr Obama liked our dance very much. He danced with us, he also did the Koli dance and diya dance,” the student said.