By Ali Usman
LAHORE: The World Performing Arts Festival received its largest crowd of the year on Sunday, as many families availed the holiday to visit the fair and observe the performances on offer.
However, most families seemed to differ on which performances they should attend and several people were seen choosing different exhibitions and plays to watch on their own, while their family members attended different performances.
Iqbal Ahmed, one such viewer at the festival, said that he and his family had arrived at the festival together but upon reaching it had differed on what they should watch. He said that they had decided to go their separate ways and watch the shows that interested them individually instead of watching the same things. Ahmed, who was watching the classical dance performance, said that his wife and daughter had decided to attend the puppetry show, while his son had preferred to watch drama.
Dance performance: The dance performances of the day — the Rajasthan Folk Dance and the classical dance of the Bharatanatyam — were greeted with warm applause from the audiences and enthralled them for the duration. The two dances combined lasted for one-and-a-half hours. The warmth of the performance marked the Rajasthan folk dance while the classical dance maintained a perfect harmony of movements in accordance with the soulful music.
The folk dance was a group performance. Six people played music, a woman sang, while two performers danced to the rhythm. The flexibility of the artists’ movements was remarkable. They rapidly whirled in circles without letting their feet become unbalanced for even a moment. At one point, the artists bowed backwards and touched the palms of their hands to the earth, making a bridge-like shape with their bodies. The delicacy of this gesture made it appear different from an athletic exercise and the artists seamlessly rose from the difficult position without breaking the rhythm of the dance. People loved this style and appreciated it with thundering applause.
Solitary artist Mansai Pandya performed a classical dance performance. One of the youngest classical dance odissi and bharatanatyam artists of India, her performance reached climax when she held two lit lamps in her hand while dancing on the edges of a plate. She continued to dance in this manner for a while, rotating in a circle. The movements of her arms and her feet maintained a balance that allowed her to keep hold of the lamps while dancing in such a precarious position. She said that she was performing in Lahore for the third time, adding that she loved the city. “People here see the performance attentively and give a very positive response,” she said.
Enjoyment: Pantea Habilio, an artist from Iran, said that while she could not understand the language of the songs, music was a universal language and she had greatly enjoyed the performance. Ian Ombima, another viewer, said that this festival showed the best of the country and should be highlighted on a global level.