16 November 2020 marks 160 years since the arrival of Indian indentured labourers in South Africa.
To commemorate this event, SAIDA, in partnership with the 1860 Heritage Centre, Swami Vivekanand Cultural Centre - Durban (ICCR) and Narthaki (Chennai), will trace and document the journey of Indian dance from indenture to stage through a virtual conference. This represents the beginning of an ongoing documentation process.
The first part commemorating this milestone is an official launch scheduled for 16 November 2020 in the form of a virtual presentation. It traces the development of Indian dance through a pre-recorded collage of performances showcasing the various dance genres over the period of 160 years.
The second part, a virtual Global Dance Conference, From Indenture To Stage … voices across water, will follow on the weekend of 21st to 22nd November. Dance teachers, performers, historians, and dance enthusiasts from across the Indian diaspora are participants. Representatives from Surinam, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius, Réunion and Fiji who have a shared history of indenture, will compare their journeys.
Session 1 will see South Africans present their dance journeys, their histories, the status of dance and the challenges experienced in present day South Africa.
In Session 2 SAIDA will host speakers from the Indian diaspora who will explore their shared histories in dance.
The global conversation will continue in Session 3 on Sunday 22 November with a panel discussion on the future of Indian Dance in the diaspora addressing the question “Where To from Here?”.
Conference Convenor/ Chairperson of SAIDA - Smeetha Maharaj
Academic Convenor – Prof Suria Govender
Official Launch Convenor – Vasugi Devar Singh