Music can add a healing touch and bring harmony. And this is not a fact that has been discovered recently. In fact, even our ancestors knew of it. An two-day cultural event of International Ancient Arts Festival, which took place in the city on Wednesday and Thursday at Kamani Auditorium, took a look back at the old tradition of music as a mode of relaxation.
Supported by the ICCR, Ministry of Culture, Delhi Tourism, and UP Tourism, the festival highlighted different forms of music, dance and art and merged modern and traditional ideas of life. The participants — both Indian and international — connected science, spirituality and ancient performing arts.
Reela Hota, Odissi dancer and spiritualist who is also a founder of the festival, said cultures across the world shared a commonality and explained how these art forms were very vital for our lives today.
'If you see ancient cultures, the symbols, instruments, languages and customs have so many similarities which we want to showcase it in our third year. The aim of this festival is to highlight how music, dance and vital therapeutic practices in traditional systems of healing can combine to meet lifestyle challenges of today,' said Hota.
The festival kick-started with a collaborative performance of various Indian traditional dance forms highlighting the spiritual significance of Rabindranath Tagore's poems. It also included various dance forms like Odissi by Hota, Kathak by Vidha Lal, creative dance by Naresh Kumar, Gaudiya Nritya by Gaudiya Nritya Bharati, Pung Cholom and Ras Leela by Prem Manipur Cultural Association. This was followed by a soul-stirring Sufi music performance by Pakistan's Ustad Hamid Ali Khan concluding the evening for the day.
Hota through her dance forms presented the philosophy and ideas of Yoga and Tantra. Gaudiya Nritya Bharati has been long associated with Bengali music and dance.
The Prem Manipuri Cultural Association performed the Ras Leela which has remained contemporary. The playfulness of the dance form never fails to encapsulate the audience. This is a reason as to why music and culture never goes out of context but transcends all boundaries.
The second day was scheduled for talks wherein, Dr Vivien Marcow-Speiser from Cambridge University and Dr Phillipe Speiser, Director of Arts Therapy at Whittier Street Health Centre, Roxbury who spoke on 'The Body as Sacred Instrument', 'Healing sounds for children with disabilities: finding the power of love to facilitate growth and change'.
Artist Manissha Khanna spoke on the relation between painting and healing.