Video: Indian dancers' video shot in Oman goes viral
February 19, 2018 | 10:00 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: A stunning video produced by a long-term Indian expat in Oman, featuring some of the Sultanate’s most iconic landmarks, has now gone viral.

The video, produced by and starring Aishwarya Hegde and her dancing partner Tamoghna Dey, features them performing the classical Indian dance, Odissi, in traditional clothes, to Arabic music by Saudi singer Ala’a Wardi.

“The topography of Oman is so diverse that I was able to put different glimpses of everything Oman has to offer in my video,” Hegde said. She currently heads the Deepam Dance Academy in Muscat.

“Within a 50km radius, you can go to a mountain range, a beach, a wadi, and you can even arrive at a city. That’s what we wanted to capture. We shot at Azaiba beach, on top of the Oman House building, at this beautiful walking path in front of the Seeb Convention Centre, and then at the historical Muttrah Fort. We didn’t leave the city limits at all for the entire video,” she explained.

“We got over 22,000 views on Facebook. The response has been brilliant. An Odissi dancer from France got in touch with us after she saw the video. While on her way to India, she dropped by our dance studio. People are now able to identify the Odissi dance form, and this is good, because people often think that all Indian dance forms are of one kind, when they are all so diverse,” she added.

Raised in the Sultanate, Hegde attended school in Oman and is now looking to give back to the community here.

“I started dancing when I was four years old. My mother was very keen on me learning Odissi but there was no teacher in Muscat at the time. My teacher Deepak Roy moved to Muscat when I was seven and I started learning Odissi from him. I was part of his first batch and my love for dance just grew over the years. Odissi is a very spiritual form of art and it continually challenges you because you never feel like you have mastered it and you always feel inner growth as you learn to dance,” Hegde remarked.

The video starring Aishwarya Hegde and her dancing partner Tamoghna Dey, features them performing Indian dance to Arabic music by Saudi singer Ala’a Wardi.

“I am very lucky that I had my guru with me throughout my journey as a dancer in Oman. He has left an easier platform for me to build on, because he began in a small room with just five or six dancers. It was his dream to see Odissi grow. This is the next obvious step. Teaching makes you a stronger and more confident dancer. My guru always encouraged us to teach the younger batches because this made us grow as dancers,” she added.

“Some very innate things about Odissi really appeal to the audience because it is a very challenging art form. The biggest challenge is to cut out all unnecessary movements and show only the aesthetics,” she said. “Odissi is one of the oldest dance forms among all Indian dances. So, when we dance today, the idea that you can trace its history really connected with me,” she added.

The main idea of any dance form, Hegde said, was to promote cultural understanding and tolerance across borders. “That was what we were trying to do through the video shot by Kumar Chand. Also, we wanted to show everyone that dance was not limited to a certain bracket,” she remarked.

“If you keep the aesthetics right, you can perform a dance at any location with any music across any culture. The Omani community was really appreciative of our efforts. I have seen timid children have their personalities open up when they hit the stage. Any sport or art form gives one a lot of self-discipline so you learn to appreciate it more. There is no restriction across age, race or nationality that limits you from pursuing a passion, and that’s the true nature of art,” Hegde added.

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