San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ganesh Festival Brings Indian Culture to San José

“I dream of finding a common thread between men, women and children from all cultures and traditions, through music and dance,” writes Amrita Choudhury, a dancer and instructor from India, on her Web site.

Thanks to efforts by Edgar Ortiz, a Costa Rican who studied in India, Choudhury will be searching for that thread here in Costa Rica as part of the Ganesh Festival, organized by Ortiz.

Named after the Indian god known as the remover of obstacles, the Ganesh Festival presents Indian culture to Costa Rica through folklore, history, film, photography and dance.

“It is an opportunity to get to know the artistic expressions of a rich tradition that is thousands of years old,” Ortiz said.

The main course in the festival’s cultural feast is Choudhury, who will be performing this weekend as well as offering a workshop on traditional Indian dance May 8-12.

Tonight at 8 p.m. at the Kapoli Meditation Center, in the western San José suburb of Escazú, and tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in Merediano del Este in San José’s Barrio La California, Choudhury will perform three separate dance pieces: a dance for the Indian god Shiva, a dance in the traditional Odessi style and a dance in the gypsy tradition from northern India.

Costa Rican percussionist Juan Pablo Barahona and Peruvian Ananda Sindhu will both interpret traditional Indian music. Throughout the evening, Ortiz, a trained orator for more than 10 years who studied theater and storytelling in India, will recount the legend of the birth of Ganesh, as well as other stories from India.

Other performances include the singing of traditional mantras and rangoli, which is the creation of an image on the ground using painted grains of rice and crushed rice, to be created by artist Miguel Casafont. Two short films on India will also be shown.

 Entrance to the event is ¢2,500 ($5). For more info, call Ortiz at 880-4901.


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