Edinburgh dances to Bollywood tunes as East meets West

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2015 19:15 IST

A Bollywood dance extravaganza is one of the main highlights of the three-week Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the iconic Ediburgh Castle esplanade from Friday, combining military spectacle, cultural performance, vibrant music and international colour.

Now in its 66th year, the event’s theme this year is ‘East meets West’, and includes over 1,200 performers from India, China, Australia, United States, Canada and New Zealand.

A team of 12 performers and a choreographer have travelled from New Delhi to Edinburgh, where they join 40 dancers drawn from Asian dance groups across Scotland.

Scotland’s cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said, “Once again the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will place Scotland on the world stage, showcasing our rich cultural heritage to thousands of people across the world.”

She added, “Through Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, we are pleased to support The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo’s collaboration with The Edinburgh Mela to bring Bollywood to the esplanade.”

The event from August 7 to August 29 includes a nightly five-minute street version of Bollywood dance put together by the India-based Teamwork Arts. Followed by the performances at the Tattoo, the Edinburgh Mela will showcase the musical ‘Bollywood Love Story’ on August 30 in Leith.

Hailing from the UK’s most northernly community of Shetland, The Shetland Fiddlers - Hjaltibonhoga - will feature 40 players each evening, aged 14 to 60, exemplifying an aural tradition of fiddling that has been sustained across the generations.

The event’s chief executive, Brigadier David Allfrey, said, “This year’s show is remarkable in so many ways. It is bringing together some traditional allies and some new friends. The performance is set to illustrate that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

He added: “Some acts have taken a number of years to secure and we are delighted that a huge cast has come together from across the world, so elegantly, and with such a sense of common purpose.”

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