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Choreography merges the Afro-Cuban and Indian culture

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Growing up in India, choreographer Ranjana Warier knew little about Afro-Cuban culture.

“I knew Cuba existed. That was it,” she recalls with a laugh. “I knew there was Cuba, and I knew there was Africa, but I had no exposure whatsoever.”

Today, Warier is the artistic director of “Surya: The Eternal Rhythm,” a project that merges Afro-Cuban and Indian cultures through dance, poetry and music. The show, a 2014 winner of a Knight Arts Challenge grant by the Knight Foundation, will take place Saturday, April 2, at the Wolfson Campus Auditorium at Miami Dade College.

“We all might talk differently, and we might portray things differently, but when you look deep down, it appears to be the same human spirit shining through different kinds of lights,” she says. “That is actually very encouraging, especially in today’s world. Many of us think we’re quite different, and that’s where conflicts start. But when you start understanding diversity a little bit better, you realize how close we are.”

The project started with a poem by Miami-based poet Adrian Castro, who often writes about Afro-Caribbean culture, history and myths. Lissette Mendez, director of Miami Book Fair International, introduced Warier to Castro’s poetry, and his work immediately absorbed her.

She was so moved by one poem, titled “Clay, Chalk and Charcoal” and inspired by the African religion Yoruba, that she based a new choreography on it.

“I lost track of how many times I read it. It’s a like a Renoir, [in] that the longer you look, you start seeing the details and all the different things,” Warier says. “I read it over and over, and each time I felt I was adding one more piece of the puzzle, not knowing what I was putting together. It seemed it had many layers, and as a dancer, I could just feel the rhythm.”

Warier describes her choreography as a “visualization of Afro-Caribbean poetry through Indian dances.” She uses classical and folk Indian styles, not Bollywood. Her show also features the Miami-based Afro-Cuban dance company IFE-ILE. Castro will read the poem before the show, and a panel discussion on the creation of the project will follow the performance.

While developing “Surya,” Warier says she was surprised by how many similarities she found between the two cultures.

“I just want people not to be afraid to collaborate with people who might look very different from you,” Warier says. “Maybe you use that experience to understand their cultures, and hopefully that brings more tolerance. And if not for anything else, it’s good to know more about what else is out there.”

Credits:  Barbara Corbellini Duarte

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Actor Varun Dhawan Describes his Special Relationship with Hip-hop

An exciting feature of the platform is the annual Breezer Vivid music video, which features Varun, the winners and some of hip-hop’s biggest names

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Bollywood Actor Varun Dhawan
Varun Dhawan.

“ABCD 2” actor Varun Dhawan says hip-hop is one genre that is very close to him.

Breezer and Only Much Louder (OML) will set the dance floor on fire with Season 3 of Breezer Vivid Shuffle. With performances by hip-hop artistes like Naezy and MC Altaf, Varun officially launched the hip-hop dance competition on Wednesday here.

“Hip-hop has always been very close to me and these artistes inspire me to take my love for hip-hop to the next level with movies like ‘Street Dancer’,” Varun said in a statement referring to his upcoming film “Street Dancer”.

hip hop
Hip Hop. Pixabay

The competition will come alive in Shillong, Delhi, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Bangkok, Bhopal, Indore and Mumbai.

“This season, we are thrilled to announce that Breezer Vivid Shuffle is expanding its horizons with four more cities in India along with an international qualifier,” said Anshuman Goenka, Director Marketing, Bacardi India Pvt Ltd.

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An exciting feature of the platform is the annual Breezer Vivid music video, which features Varun, the winners and some of hip-hop’s biggest names. (IANS)