Experience A Journey Through India at The Ringling Museum

Festival

BY TRICIA ROBUSTELLI SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY APR 24, 2019

Explore one of Southeast Asia’s varied treasures with A Journey Through India, an upcoming festival at the Ringling Museum, celebrating Indian performance, food, music and art. For more than a year, Jay Patel and the rest of the Ringling Museum planning committee have been working hard to prepare, trying to incorporate as much of the widely diverse culture as possible. Running from April 26 to 28, the three-day festival begins with a Bollywood party on Friday, lectures and performances all throughout Saturday and a yoga wind-down on Sunday.

On the evening of April 26, The Bollywood Dance Party kicks off the festival in the Ringling Museum courtyard. DJ Pram brings his high-energy style to teach dance moves while scenes from classic Bollywood films show around the courtyard. Rajat “Rocky” Batta, a Bollywood choreographer, will present a special dance performance.

The following day consists of a day-long program, Celebration of India, and speaks on Indian art, literature, philosophy and popular culture. “That's where the tradition comes in,” Patel says. “The origin of the authentic India message is what we wanted to show.” The series of performances on Saturday from 10am to 3pm marks Patel’s favorite portion because it, “portrays the traditional Indian culture,” he says. Also, there will be dance performances by community groups, art-making and other activities for families.

A special Saturday evening concert held at the Historic Asolo Theater, featuring Ustad Shujaat Khan, showcases the North Indian classical music that has been heard through famous artists from the past, influencing even the biggest bands in the world. “George Harrison from The Beatles was very interested in the sitar,” says Patel, “and teamed up with a well-known player.” This type of instrument was used to influence The Beatles’ music, songs like  "Norwegian Wood,” "Tomorrow Never Knows” and "Love You To" has sitar influences throughout their melodies. The sitar will be performed by Shujaat Khan, accompanied on tabla by Shankh Lahiri and Dibyarka Chatterjee.

The final day of the festival is Hatha Yoga. This free event takes place at the Ca' d'Zan Terrace early in the morning. Taught by an Isha Foundation yogi, the event wraps up in a relaxing manner.

Patel sees a different side of India shining through the festival. He explains how many don’t know what India is about. “It is a lot more diverse and interesting,” Patel says. Overall, he wants people to know, “more about India then what they know.“

Pictured: Ustad Shujaat Khan will be playing the sitar at a special concert at The Ringling Museum this weekend. Photo courtesy of Ringling Museum.

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