Diwali Cultural Show performances Oct. 29 at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium include a dazzling array of dances and costumes.

Colourful mix of music and dance a Diwali delight

Diwali Cultural Show 2016 Oct. 29 at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium

Rick Stiebel/Black Press

Diwali Cultural Show 2016 will serve up a feast of music and dance for the eyes and ears Oct. 29 at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium.

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated every year in the fall. It signifies the spiritual triumph of light over darkness and hope over despair.

Diwali is celebrated with lamps and candles and Rangoli or Kolam decorations, imaginative designs made from intricate geometrical shapes that often include flowers and leaves, said Suresh Basrur, spokesperson for the Victoria Hindu Parishad Cultural Centre.

Diwali festivals include a family feast and an exchange of gifts between family and close friends. “It is just like Christmas in Christian countries in many ways,” he noted

The Victoria Hindu Parishad and Cultural Centre is presenting the show, which features classical and folk dances and music highlighted by a performance by Bollywood Hungama. The 15-member group will do four dances related to Indian movies and similar to Broadway musicals, This will mark the first performance in Victoria for the Vancouver-area dance troupe, which has established a strong following on the Mainland.

“They do a style of folk dancing that is very popular in the Punjab area,” Basrur said. “It’s a very energetic performance featuring lots of colourful costumes.”

Other highlights involve a selection of three Indian classical fusion dances known as Bharatanatyam, which is derived from a long history similar to ballet.

“The dancers use their fingers, hands, feet, bodies and eyes to portray different movements that are synchronized to the music,” Basrur explained. “It’s very expressive.”

Some of the performers learned the dance at the Bharatanatyam Kala Mandir Dance Studio in Victoria from Oak Bay’s Dr. Sydney Sparling, who travelled to India to perfect the craft.

The show is from 6 to 8:30 p.m., with tickets $20 for all ages. Samosas, Indian sweet desserts and chai tea will be served after the show. Tickets are available at the UVic Ticket Centre at 250-721-8480, or visit auditorium.uvic.ca/ for more information.