The 9th edition of the Embassy’s annual flagship cultural Festival of India in Republic of Korea 'SARANG' is currently underway. The performing arts segment of the festival, featuring Indian classical dance 'Bharatanatyam' troupe led by eminent dancer Vidyashree Radhakrishna, was held from 6-12 October 2023.
An hour-long Bharatnatyam performance was held in Centennial Hall, Yonsei University in Seoul on 11 October. Amb. Amit Kumar, Ambassador of India to the Republic of Korea and Mr. Sung-heon Lee, Mayor of Seodaemun-gu inaugurated the event. The mesmerising performance drew standing ovation from the 500-strong audience comprising the diplomatic community, government officials, media, academics, business persons, culture enthusiasts and members of the Indian diaspora.
The term 'SARANG' holds significant meaning for both Koreans and Indians. In Korean, SARANG translates to 'love,' while for Indians, it embodies 'diversity representing the different colors of India.' The SARANG festival began in 2015 with the objective to cement the millennia old civilizational connect and people-to-people contacts between India and RoK through exchanges in the areas of art, dance, music, films, and cuisine. The SARANG festival this year has been scaled up to include new programme elements to celebrate fifty years of establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2023.
In addition to Seoul, the 'Bharatanatyam' troupe performed at Nami Island (Oct 8-9); and Gyeonggi Art Center, Suwon (12 Oct). They also performed in the inaugural session of Queen Heo Wedding Festival in Gimhae (6 Oct) and Hwaeom Music Festival in Gurye (Oct 7). They held a workshop with the well-known Seoul Institute of Arts in Ansan (11 Oct).
'Bharatanatyam' is one of the eight classical dance forms of India, originating in the Tamil Nadu region of South India. Initially performed solo by female dancers in Hindu temples, it is one of the oldest recorded dance forms and traces its origin to the Natyashastra, a 2000 year old treatise on dance and theatre. Bharatanatyam is known for its flamboyant footwork, hand gestures and delicate facial expressions, making it a captivating dance form.
The Bharatnatyam troupe was supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). For the SARANG festival, local partners of the Embassy of India, Seoul include Gimhae City Cultural Foundation, Nami Island Art and Education Inc, Korean Film Archives, Busan Cinema Center, Korea Food Promotion Institute, Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea, local Governments in Seoul, Incheon, Suncheon and Yongsan as well as several corporate partners with interests in India.