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In tandem Ahmed and Zsanett set the floor on fire
In tandem Ahmed and Zsanett set the floor on fire

Hula-hoop performers, Sufi dances and Chandamelam hold sway

It is that time of the year again when The Forum Mall is decorated in style and has once again invited artistes from Indian and abroad to perform at the atrium on its premises. The event is organised by the mall to celebrate Deepavali and to offer the shoppers not just a “perfect shopping ambience with varied offers, but also give them a chance to see various artistes perform.”

This time around, there is a hula-hoop performer, Zsanett, from Hungary, Tanoura exponent, Ahmed, from Egypt and Chandamelam drummers from Kerala. The event starts on time much to everyone’s relief with the hula-hoop performer. Zsanett is dressed like a cat — her clothes, hair and eyes are done up to look decidedly feline. She starts with simple movements with one hoop. Then she goes on to increase the hoops and performs more and more complicated moves. She ends her performance with 20 hoops around her body moving in various directions, which drop at her feet as soon as the music ends. Her performance lasts about four minutes, which does not make it boring for the small audience which includes the press and shoppers.

Next is Ahmed. Dressed in a beautiful hand-woven gown, with flowing skirts and a colourful turban, he starts twirling around with two drums in his hands. He moves to beautiful Sufi music. He does not twirl too fast or too slow, but at a steady pace. There isn’t much variation in his dance, except that he holds the drums in his hands in various styles and keeps on pirouetting. There is nothing too elaborate in his moves, but his involvement and his expressions and his joy in whirling keeps you glued to his dance. Then he takes off one skirt and pulls it over his face, now there are two skirts swirling to the rhythm. Then the skirt is removed and becomes a baby, which he is lovingly putting to sleep and his dance continues. Doesn’t he feel dizzy? “No, I have been doing this for the last 27 years. And my five-year-old daughter is also training to be a Tanoura dancer. This is a kind of a Sufi dance,” he explains with actions and broken English.

The grand finale was the Chandamelam drummers from Kerala. While the earlier two performances were sober with soft music, the sound from the chandes pierced through your ears and vibrated in your heart. The drummers were powerful. Dressed in traditional attire, they brought folk art of Kerala to the mall, which also included quite a few foreigners. Every one was transported into a very different world. The beats, their moves and their wild shouts while they moved all had a very rustic quality to it. They too went on from simple to complicated rhythms and moves and ended their performance with some dangerous fire works, where the drummers ate fire, ran sticks of fire over their bodies and also spat fire from their mouths into the air. This was the only performance that was held at the entrance of the forum, due to the fire works.

The Forum Mall with these live performances seems to be a great attraction for shoppers. As the performances are short, the shoppers too will not get bored nor will they feel they are being held from their shopping. The organisers have tried to give their customers a peek at the varied cultures of the world while they shop.

These dancers will perform for the next month at the atrium at Forum, Koramangala at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

SHILPA SEBASTIAN R.

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