Preparations underway for Derby Festé 2017

Preparations for this year’s Derby Festé have got underway as internationally-acclaimed Indian dancer, choreographer and educator Dr Parul Shah visited the the city to work with performers.

A two-day workshop was held at Déda with five local dance artists to teach the traditional Garba dance, which will be the centrepiece of this Septembers Festé. Taking place on 29 and 30 September this year Festé coincides with the 70th anniversary celebrations of India’s independence.

The local artists who worked with Dr Parul Shah will hold workshops at community venues and schools in early September to teach hundreds of people of all ages the Garba steps which they will perform in Derby’s Market Place on Saturday September 30 as the final event of the two-day Derby Festé.

Ruchita Shaikh is Executive Director of Derby visual arts organisation, Artcore, which is involved in planning Derby Festé. She said: “The Garba is traditionally performed every night during the Navrati Festival with thousands of people dressing up in wonderfully colourful costumes. It starts slowly and then gets faster and faster – creating a fantastic atmosphere and energy.

“In this – the 70th anniversary of Indian independence – I am delighted that Derby Festé is merging and celebrating different cultures to engage the wider community in this vibrant occasion.”

Derby Festé Artistic Lead Stephen Munn explained the theme of this year’s festival: “Every year we look to bring a new aspect into the Derby Festé programme and our aim this September is to showcase two different aspects of festival cultures in Europe and in South Asia.

“I and colleagues from the University of Derby and Artcore were lucky enough to be invited to see the Navrati Festival two years ago in Vadodara which was a truly spectacular event. I was amazed just how many people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds came out onto the streets to celebrate together and I wanted to replicate this as part of Festé.

“Just as the Navrati Festival started as a Hindu celebration in India and is now something that brings together all South Asian faiths. Similarly, Saturday evening’s entertainment at Festé will appeal to a wide range of people from across the whole region who want to enjoy and be part of live music, dance the colourful parade in a spectacle never before experienced before in Derby.”

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Image © Thierry Bonnet

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