Chinese throng to see Indian classical dances

Shanghai, May 31 (IANS) ‘I have never seen such crowds!’ said an excited Delhi-based choreographer as the Chinese poured in for the Indian classical dance performances her team put up for visiting President Pratibha Patil at the India pavilion of the 2010 World Expo here.

‘The Chinese people wait for hours to get a glimpse of our dances,’ said Maitreyee Pahari. ‘I have travelled a lot in India and abroad for my dance presentations. But the response of the crowd here has been mind-boggling,’ Pahari told IANS.

She staged the ‘Call of Peace’ and ‘Unity in Diversity’ choreography when Patil visited the pavilion, which attracted over 47,000 footfalls on one single day last week.

As the president was to inaugurate the pavilion Sunday, people were not allowed inside for security reasons. But they rushed to get in as soon as Patil – who will be back in India Monday night after a six-day trip to China – left.

Pahari said there were times when people waited for at least two hours to see the programme.

‘People try to gatecrash. As the authorities have promoted and advertised the programme widely, people know that we present the performances every two hours.’

‘It is so good to see that Chinese people are so curious to know about us. I don’t know why people say there are tensions between us. I don’t believe it,’ she said.

The India pavilion at the expo has the world’s largest bamboo dome with a roof that supports 60,000 plants and collects rainwater as well. Inside, a holographic audio-visual displays the seven ‘chakras’ of the human system and how urban development could be inspired by solutions from ancient times.

And going by the crowds, the Indian classical dance programme has also been a real hit.

‘I think culture is one way of bridging the gap between people. We should have such people to people contact. This way we will be more successful in winning the hearts of the Chinese,’ said Pahari.

(Kavita Bajeli-Datt can be contacted at [email protected])