November 04, 2013
In anticipation of Diwali — the biggest and most popular event in the Indian calendar — ArtStarts teamed up with South Asian Arts to deliver some exciting and lively 45-minute workshops for kids and families.
Guests gathered to learn Bhangra to celebrate the upcoming festivities. The musical workshop started with audience members learning about Bhangra, a vibrant form of folk music and dance that originated in the Punjab region of India as a part of harvest festival celebrations.
Aiming their hands high, and reaching up to the sky, participants pretended to be crops moving from side to side. Giving thanks to the bountiful fall harvest, guests added a few steps, and a little hop, as they swayed back and forth to the catchy rhythms of Raymond's dhol, a double-sided barrel drum.
With the workshop in full swing, participants were encouraged to be loud, dance, and clap to the contagious sounds of Bhangra. Making drum rolls, singing along and moving to the beat, young musicians made many boom and ding sounds to mimic the dhol sounds, while brave volunteers were invited to participate and engage with a variety of instruments such as the chimta — a traditional percussion instrument from South Asia. By using two wooden sticks to play the dhol, participants also had a chance to discover its different sounds, making their own rhythms as they immersed themselves in a truly sonic experience. The musical workshop culminated in a captivating and highly energetic performance.
Participants were also treated to a special demonstration of traditional dance costumes worn by men and women. Two volunteers were chosen to try on the bright and shiny costumes known as kurta and kurti. Much like the dance and sounds of Bhangra, its dance costumes are lively and vibrant and their details helped the dancers illuminate brightly on the stage!
Thanks to South Asian Arts, participants left the workshop feeling confident with their new understanding of Bhangra, Diwali and its musical instruments, and ready to practice their new skills at the Diwali festivities which are taking place all around Vancouver. Be sure to visit Diwali Fest, the 10th Annual Festival from October 29 to November 8, 2013 for many more free performances and workshops!
At the ArtStarts Gallery on Saturday, Mehndi artist Nazil Kara also decorated little hands with henna after each Bhangra workshop.
We hope to see you at our next events: tap dance workshops for kids with Vancouver Tap Dance Society's youth performance ensemble TapCo. Join us at ArtStarts on Saturdays in Vancouver on Saturday, November 30 and at ArtStarts at River Market in New Westminster on Sunday, December 1. Read more details here.
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