The Diversity stage at today’s ASB Polyfest will have more of a traditional flavour than past years, with the decision that the Indian dance on the stage be classical dance, and not Bolliwood.
There are 14 Indian groups amongst the 32 groups on the Diversity stage today, and they have all been encouraged to perform traditional dances, not the ones they see in modern Bolliwood movies.
Diversity Stage co-ordinator, Sarah Woods said – “with all the stages at the festival performing traditional dances from Maori & Pacific Island communities, we wanted to extend this to the Diversity stage this year. We want students to learn more about their cultural heritage.”
“It has been challenging, as many students don’t seem to understand the difference between traditional and modern Indian dance.”
Woods went on to say – “despite all our communication, some of the students got on stage yesterday and did some Bolliwood dancing, so we will be briefing all the Indian groups before they go on stage today”
Local Indian entertainment promoter – Dharmesh Parikh has been involved with the ASB Polyfest since 1995 when his Mt Albert Grammar Indian cultural group were invited to perform on the festival’s Cook Islands stage.
Parikh is supportive of the move to have traditional Indian dance and not Bolliwood on the Diversity stage saying – “our youth need to respect and embrace our traditional culture and not lose it”
Parikh added – “it is hard for the Bollywood infused dance groups to start liking the traditional forms of Indian Dancing especially at High School level. I look forward to the day when traditional dancing such as Bharat Natyam and Kathak becomes cool and funky with the teenage Indian students.”
Cultures represented on the Diversity stage today are African, Bharatnatiyam, Chinese Indian, Fijian, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Mongolian, Punjabi, Sri Lankan and Thai.
The other stage in full swing today from 9am – 5pm is the Hapai Te Hauora Maori Stage. The Division Two kapa haka competition sees teams vying to be promoted to Division One next year.
An important part of today’s programme on the Cook Island, Samoan and Tongan stages is the Statistics NZ speech competitions which encourage and support students to speak in Pacific Island languages.
Another feature of the ASB Polyfest today is the “My Culture & Me” programme which sees primary and intermediate school students from throughout Auckland have their own festival experience from 10am – 1pm.
The 2013 ASB Polyfest takes place at the ASB Sports Bowl from Wednesday, 13 March to Saturday, 16 March. Entry is $5 with pre-school children free of charge.