Asian Music and Dance

Svapnagata Festival 

It may seem simple to say that the ingredients to create a memorable music concert or dance performance are not rocket science. An essential base is some exceptional artists. They need to perform at the right venue with the ambience for the occasion and an appropriate introduction for the audience. And you need to invest in equipment that produces exceptional sound and lighting. The list could go on.

The Sadler’s Wells Svapnagata Festival had many of these ingredients in abundance: special mention needs to be made of the high quality sound and exceptional lighting arrangements.

The Festival, curated by musician Nitin Sawhney and dancer Akram Khan, put on a spectacular series of performances from some outstanding artists from overseas and Britain. Svapnagata (Sanskrit for ‘dreaming’) allowed the duo to dream of what Indian classical music and dance could be. It certainly put many of the concerts and productions put on by some of Britain’s established South Asian promoters in the shade. 

No doubt the vast amount of finances invested in the festival helped, as did the marketing. Certainly, it was successful in drawing in the crowds; many of the nights were sell-outs. Most of the performances were of high quality. The odd one failed to shine, perhaps not surprising for a festival that had more than a dozen different events. Some of the performances veered towards the populist. Maybe it was thought that the audiences couldn’t stomach the more refined end of classical music and dance. Overall though, the Festival did a great service to Indian classical music and dance, and raised the bar for others to follow. It would be a shame for both artists and audiences if they didn’t rise up to the challenge.



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