All photos by Chantelle D’mello
Katara Cultural Village and UNESCO have teamed up to bring five months of multi-cultural entertainment to Qatar, as the first UNESCO Cultural Diversity Festival continues into its second week.
Organized as part of the Intercultural Dialogue and Cultural Diversity Program of UNESCO in Qatar, the festival hopes to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding via dance and performance.
Over the course of the next few months, performing groups from some 20 countries across continents are scheduled to hold bi-weekly shows.
They hail from Saudi Arabia, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Senegal, Japan, Philippines, Georgia, Russia, Turkey, Tajikistan, Serbia, and Spain, among others.
Performances will be held every week at Katara’s Esplanade from 7:30pm onwards on Mondays and Tuesdays until May 25.
Last week, Philippine dance troupe Bayanihan performed the inaugural performance.
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The group, founded in 1956, and originally named the Bayanihan Folk Dance Group of the Philippine Women’s University, visually represented the history of their nation through music and dance.
This week features Indian dancer Aparajita and her troupe, who are known for an expressive, foot-thumping classical Indian dance form known as Bharatanatyam.
Known for its grace, elegance, tenderness, and poise, Bharatanatyam is one of the most widely practiced forms of traditional Indian dance.
During last night’s opening performance, the group weaved tales of work, struggle, violence and conflict, dressed in brightly colored saris, and wearing large belled anklets.
The troupe is a member of the India World Cultural Forum (IWCF), a cultural organization founded in 2007 to celebrate India’s heritage through the performing arts.
In the coming months, UNESCO will also hold two regional conferences on cultural diversity and social inclusion in Qatar, as well as two national training workshops on intercultural dialogue.
In a statement, the organization said the events are part of “the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), an international commitment to addressing the need for actions against violence and intolerance.”
The festival is part of a renewed focus by the Katara Cultural Village to help promote cultural diversity and dialogue in Qatar.
In recent years, the village has hosted several events, including the Passage to India festival, the ASEAN festival, the Korean Friendship Carnival, and numerous other smaller events aimed at showcasing talent from around the world.