This coming weekend, August 12 and 13, the National Capital Region will play host to ArohaFest: a celebration of the arts of India. A first in Canada, this bilingual event will feature live performances, scheduled workshops, classes, and demonstrations.
And it’s all organized by Anjali Patil and her company Aroha Fine Arts of Stittsville. As one of Canada’s foremost Kathak dancers and choreographers, Anjali is founder and
artistic director of Aroha Fine Arts, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to excellence
in professional classical Indian dance.
Slated for the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans, ArohaFest will run Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. “There is going to be something for everyone,” Anjali says. “Over two days we will blow open the doors of the Shenkman Arts Centre – welcoming and drawing in audiences with live music, dance, visual arts and culinary treats. All events will be free and allow residents the opportunity to both participate in the arts of India through hands-on participatory workshops, demonstrations,
[and] classes, and to take advantage of world class performances of professional artists. We want to get all of Ottawa moving!”
Workshops, classes and demonstrations require no registration. An art exhibition will feature the work of Indo-Canadian artists, and there will be a
opportunity for audience members to indulge in the flavours of India at food stalls set up from some of Ottawa’s finest restaurants.
On-stage performances will feature a variety of performers, from Canada and India. These will include Bageshree Vaze, a high energy singer named a “rising star” by MTV India; Sujata Mohapatra, a stunning Odissi dancer who has performed around the world; Aishwarya Vijaykumar, an Ottawa based Bharatanatayam dancer and artistic director of Sadhana School of Indian Arts; Mushfiq Hashimi, a true renaissance man who is master of Indian classical music, an accomplished painter and calligrapher, an actor and former professor of Kabul University; and finally Anjali Patil herself ,with her company of extraordinary dancers.
“On the occasion of Canada’s 150th Birthday I wanted to offer ArohaFest to provide an opportunity for as many as possible to have exposure to all kinds of the arts of India in a friendly, inviting atmosphere. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to keep activities free and why there are participatory activities like the workshops in addition to the professional performances,” she says.
ArohaFest is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada 150 program in
celebration of the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
While events are free and residents are encouraged to attend, reservations for the evening programs are recommended. Free
tickets to the performances can be reserved online at www.arohafinearts.com/events/arohafest.