Sudnya Dance Academy’s 20th anniversary show celebrates 150 years of Indian heritage in Canada

 

Married to Canada November 11, 2017

 

Surrey Civic Theatres presents the premiere of Sudnya Dance Academy’s production of Married to Canada—a moving portrayal through Indian classical and folk dance styles of the hopes, dreams, and traditions an Indian bride brings to Canada—at the Main Stage at Surrey Arts Centre (13750–88 Avenue) on November 11 at 8pm. Running time is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes, including intermission. Tickets are $19 to $30, including all fees. Box Office: 604-501-5566 | 13750–88 Avenue. Tickets Online: tickets.surrey.ca.

 

When an Indian woman prepares for her wedding day, she is adorned with 16 embellishments known as solah shringar. Each of the embellishments symbolizes the bride’s preparation for her transition into womanhood. These are worn from head to toe and may vary slightly depending on what region of India the bride and her family are from. Female friends and family engage in numerous rituals of preparing and beautifying the bride-to-be. These rituals, collective in nature, lend themselves to celebrations through music, singing, dancing, and other folk and classical traditions of India.

 

In Married to Canada—a moving portrayal through Indian classical and folk dance styles of the hopes, dreams, and traditions an Indian bride brings to Canada—audiences are invited to witness solah shringar. Although the setting is culturally specific, this performance honours the cultures and contributions of immigrants who have come from around the world, and who now call Canada home.

 

Sudnya Mulye, Artistic Director of Sudnya Dance Academy and Married to Canada, is collaborating with choreographer Raman Sangha from Surrey India Arts Club for the first time. Sudnya teaches the classical style of Bharata Natyam, in which female dancers integrate stylized hand gestures, facial expressions, footwork, yoga, and universal emotions. Raman’s students learn Giddha—a free-style and energetic folk dance (similar to Bhangra) for women that exhibits teasing, fun, and the exuberance of Punjabi life. In the spirit of mashups, each student has learned the other style.

 

Blending these dance styles with colourful costumes representing different regions in India as well as classical and folk music styles, the dancers embark on the metaphorical and literal journey of the young bride as she makes her transition from girlhood to womanhood, and from being Indian to becoming (Indo) Canadian. The finalé reveals how the bride has blossomed into her Canadian identity, joining others of Indian heritage whose traditions have become part of the Canadian fabric of diversity over the past 150 years.

 

The evening concludes with current and past students of Sudnya Dance Academy performing two dances in recognition of the Academy’s 20th anniversary. The first is a tribute to Lord Ganesh, one of Hinduism’s most popular deities. The other celebrates Diwali, the Light of Hope.

 

Sudnya Dance Academy was established in 1997 by Artistic Director, Sudnya Mulye. Sudnya is a professional Bharata Natyam dancer, choreographer, and instructor. Students take pride in mentioning that Bharata Natyam taught by Sudnya has given them the discipline, maturity, grace, and foundation to become successful in their endeavours. Sudnya’s dance lessons offer students the unique opportunity to learn Bharata Natyam combined with the culture of India, with no limitations of background, age, levels, or abilities.

 

Since 1975, Surrey India Arts Club has been striving for the preservation of Punjabi culture in its traditional way. It promotes youth participation in folk songs, folk music instruments, and especially folk dances of the Punjab, namely Bhangra, Giddha, Malwai Giddha, Jhummar, and Dhamal.

 

Clarkson Events is a Richmond-based event coordinating firm that provides services throughout the lower mainland. Owner and Principal Planner, Reena Clarkson is an arts advocate who lends her event coordination expertise to local artists, businesses, and community groups. Reena has a special place in her heart for dance and she’s lending her logistical and coordination experience to Sudnya Dance Academy for this show.

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