Monday, October 30, 2017

India's Spectacular Navratri Dance Festival

Billed as the longest dance festival in the world, India's Navratri Festival is filled with color, music and dance. Running nine consecutive nights to honor the goddess Shakti, I was excited to witness this joyful celebration in person. From the minute that I landed in Ahmedabad, which is noted for extensive and particularly dramatic Navratri festivities, I could feel the high energy.

The opening ceremony exploded with a red carpet, spotlights, processions, video projections and a dizzying array of dancers and music. It was truly overwhelming just to keep up with the spectacles because dancers were on the stage, twirling through aisles and prancing on the side of the stage.

I'm glad I had the chance to watch subsequent days of the festival because they were different from the opening night. The first night featured a swirl of professional dancers and singers but other nights displayed dance students and judges rating their performances.

I got to congratulate these girls after their lovely show and I had fun watching the different interpretation of the Gujarati  raas-garba dance from small villages.

The girls in this video are performing with traditional sticks called dandiya. 

In this video, these village dance students performed for judges.

I shopped for a traditional Navratri sari at the market and wore it to the opening ceremony. My outfit attracted a lot of photo requests that I wasn't expecting but it certainly made the experience even more memorable!