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Erasing Borders through Dance – A Photo Blog
By Lavina Melwani • Aug 25th, 2015
Mayurbhanj Chhau
Rakesh Sai Babu performing Mayurbhanj Chhau

Dancing before Lady Liberty
Hundreds had gathered near New York harbour to watch the Erasing Borders Outdoor Dance Festival but there was an Audience of One who must have truly appreciated the lively tableaux that passed before her eyes – Lady Liberty.

Indeed, the Statue of Liberty has seen it all, the abandoned, the political refugees, the dreamers, the wanna-bes, the huddled masses – but here was a joyous rainbow of colors, of bright-eyed dancers celebrating their ancient culture, their aspirations and the diversity of America.

What could better signify freedom, equality and immigration than Bhangra dancers seeming simultaneously to leap into the sky and the water as their feet left the ground to the joyous explosion of dhols? Very far from the mustard fields of the Punjab but boldly sharing their culture with America and proclaiming that it is part of American culture now!

The Kathak performer Sanjukta Wagh.
Shaan Mutiyaaran Di Bhangra (SMD) is an all-female, NYC based bhangra team

The IAAC’s Erasing Borders Dance festival was part of the week-long Battery Dance Festival at the Robert. F. Wagner J. Park and this amazing stage open to the water and the sky was really breath-taking. This event happened on India’s Independence Day so it made it all even more symbolic with dances of all parts of the country from Kathak to Bharat Natyam to Mohiniatam to Bhangra to Chhau, with a diverse crowd that embraced it all.

Check out Rakesh Sai Babu in his saffron dhoti leaping into the skies as he performs Mayurbhanj Chhau – could the waterfront of NYC ever have seen such a stunning spectacle?

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