West indian culture

Republic Day Parade 2022: colorful showcase of the Ministry of Culture with 480 dancers

Designer Sandhya Raman, who was the creative visualizer for the segment, talks about weaving a rainbow, signifying hope, in the Republic Day parade

Around noon on January 26, the iconic Rajpath transformed into a canvas of color, song and dance, as 480 performers embodied the threads of the country’s rich cultural diversity. Although this year’s Republic Day parade marked many firsts, perhaps the most dynamic of these was the Vande Bharatam – the showcase of Nritya Utsav run by the Ministry of Culture.

What culminated in a cleverly executed display of color and a celebration of the arts took months. Young dancers from across India, in genres like classical, folk and contemporary, were assessed and selected for the parade. While Santhosh Nair and Tejaswini Sathe choreographed the contemporary dancers, the classical dancers were led by Rani Khanam and the folk artists by Maitreyee Pahari. The music was done by Bikram Ghosh and Ricki Kej.

Designer Sandhya Raman with musicians Bikram Ghosh and Ricki Kej

Designer Sandhya Raman with musicians Bikram Ghosh and Ricki Kej | Photo credit: special arrangement

Designer Sandhya Raman, with decades of experience in clothing artists, especially dancers, was called in as the showcase’s creative visualizer.

“This is the first time the department has taken a design-informed approach. It was really hard work,” says Sandhya. Why did they land on the rainbow? “The rainbow is who we are. We are so different in our hues and shapes, and yet we unite,” says the designer.

Sandhya worked with the larger concept of color and how each dancer can be placed within the spectrum. “We started with the spiritual section of the rhythm models of the culture, dressed in yellows, reds and oranges. We had glimpses of incoming white, signifying serenity.

From there, the reverse side of the VIBGYOR is what we saw with the Bharatanatayam dancers dressed in red, the Odissi performers in orange and then the Kuchipudi dancers in yellow. The folk section was a sea of ​​green: Sandhya adds, “We wanted to showcase it and show off ‘nature food’ in this particular showcase. »

Artists perform during the Republic Day Parade 2022, at Rajpath in New Delhi

Artists perform during the Republic Day Parade 2022, at Rajpath in New Delhi | Photo credit: PTI/KAMAL KISHORE

The last part highlighted contemporary choreography, where greens merged with blues and purples, resulting in the colors of the national bird, the peacock. “The peacock has shown how Indian youth will bring out the beauty in our lives,” says Sandhya.

The designer says it’s not just the costumes that she focused on. By addressing traditional, folk and contemporary practices, the exhibition attempted to emphasize the diversity the country is known for, keeping in mind the importance of unity. “An underlying message I had in mind is that we accept and respect all people as a community, and therefore the colors of pride can be seen on the peacock.”

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