Spices, songs and stories aims to give local people in Calderdale the opportunity to get involved in workshops that utilise dance, storytelling and songs to positively improve health and wellbeing.
The workshops are developed and delivered by Annapurna Indian Dance, an organisation that aims to improve peoples’ quality of life through arts and celebrate diversity by sharing the dance heritage of India through colour, movement, rhythm and expressions.
The workshops, which will run from April to December 2013 will be open to everybody and feature creative movement and music performances by Indian storytellers, musicians, puppeteers, percussionists and visual artists. Attendees will be encouraged to join in with performances if they feel comfortable to do so. They will also be introduced to healthy traditional Indian meals, that highlight the natural benefits of using specific spices and ingredients during the events.
Activities during the workshops will be flexible and adapted depending on peoples’ interests, abilities and needs.
The aims of the project are to provide accessible creative activities that people can join in with, boosting their self-esteem, providing a sense of purpose and helping social integration as people from different cultures and backgrounds come together. The activities will promote exercise and healthy eating habits and inspire participants to embrace the things they learn into their own lives.
Shantha Rao, artistic director at Annapurna explained, “At Annapurna Indian Dance we are passionate about sharing the rich artistic heritage of India, and its inspiring culture and traditions through performances and workshops.
“We specialise in bringing alive the well-loved stories from the ancient epics and mythology of India, using the vibrant traditional dances with storytelling, music, drumming, puppets and masks along with beautiful costumes. Our workshops help you to explore the rhythms of dance, with its many fascinating hand gestures and stylised facial expressions for communicating ideas and feelings.
“The beautiful hand gestures expressed in Indian dances are a precious source of inspiration and creativity. They are known as Mudras and are full of rich meanings and history. They have been carefully passed on from generation to generation providing a wonderful way of communicating our moods and feelings. There are 28 single handed and 24 double handed mystical and magical Mudras in the storytelling dance called Bharata Natyam, and we introduce people to these throughout our workshops.”