NY's Vanaver Caravan first foreign group ever invited to India's premier folk arts festival

Unprecedented cross-cultural request spurs unique plan and innovative fundraising for accompanying documentary, workshop tour and new dance school paradigm.
By: Rita Dixit-Kubiak, Big Medicine Charitable Trust
Sept. 5, 2011 - PRLog -- India's governmental West Zone Cultural Center has invited New York's award-winning global folk dance troupe, the Vanaver Caravan (VC) to be the first foreign group to ever perform in the nation's flagship folk art mela, the Shilpgram Utsav.  

Held the last 10 days of December each year in beautiful Udaipur, Rajasthan, the 20-year-old Utsav features hundreds of dancers from all across India and attracts nearly 200,000 guests. Its organizers have never invited a foreign dance troupe before, but said they "fell in love with VC's work."

Organizers of the Big Medicine Charitable Trust (BMCT), which does eco-arts education in Udaipur and had introduced the VC to Utsav officials, were jubilant.

According to BMCT director Premilla Dixit-Nag, "This is a huge breakthrough for east/west artistic collaboration. And the VC are not just invited to 'appear', they will be dancing for an hour in the heart of the Utsav Grand Finale as well as working with Indian virtuosos, presenting at schools, and launching a new kind of dance education. The Shakti Dance Academy that VC is helping us create will benefit hundreds of gifted local kids."

VC co-founder/director Livia Vanaver concurs, "the Utsav apparently chose us because our members come from so many different cultures and have mastered so many styles. We are of course extremely honored, but we also hope to use this trip to share our know-how, learn new techniques, and co-create a new Udaipur school for children born to dance. VC loves performing, but we love teaching just as much, especially when it helps preserve traditions, inspire new work, and give kids world class skills."

Adds BMCT founder Rita Dixit-Kubiak, "in India this kind of opportunity for masters from so many backgrounds to dance and work together is so rare we knew we have to capture it on film. We asked the award-winning Indophile director Pepe Ozan to film the odyssey for us and he happily agreed. The VC tour will ignite some fresh dance magic and leave a very special school behind, and best of all, Pepe's film will share it all with the world."

As a first-time ever occurrence, the Shilpgram Utsav officials had no budget for the invitation so Vanaver Caravan and BMCT are now both in fundraising mode. VC's first performance fundraiser, "Passage to India" will be held at Opus 40 on September 17 in Saugerties, NY. The event will feature Vanaver Caravan dancers, an India photo art auction, luscious dining and a guest appearance by tabla phenomenon, Ray Spiegel.  See details here: http://greeningindia.net/content/view/78/69/

On September 1st Big Medicine Charitable Trust launched a "Helping Shakti Rise" kickstarter.com crowdfunding project at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1308789875/helping-sh....  The introductory video can also be viewed below.


The Shakti Dance Academy is being designed to equip talented kids regardless of means with the best dance moves in the world. The plan simply envisions a big tent, a good floor, expert local teachers and a fast projectable internet connection to dance-related groups abroad. The curriculum will mix diverse footwork training from kathak, tap and gypsy flamenco as well as bodywork traditions from meditation, yoga and acrobatics to hiphop, Capoeira and Kalaripayattu. Its artistic and social welfare goals are to awaken kids to the body's creative energies, give them the tools to build a career, and help them find their muse.

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Big Medicine is a non-profit research and development institute dedicated to more sensuous living, eco-centric education and skills for a post-corporate world.
Source:Rita Dixit-Kubiak, Big Medicine Charitable Trust
Email:***@greeningindia.net Email Verified
Tags:dance education India Udaipur, Festival, Documentary, Film, Philanthropy, Folk Arts, Gypsies, Capoeira, Tap, Yoga
Industry:Arts, Education, Music
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