The Minories Garden was lit up in all its splendour; the fairy lights twinkled whilst the Grand Union Band took us on a journey around the world - from China to India, the Caribbean, Africa and South America...and what a journey it was! Led by Tony Haynes, the seven extraordinarily talented musicians threw around upbeat and playful melodies, catching them with worldly instruments including the steel drum, Chinese flute, Indian tabla, Tenor Sax, Trombone, Bass guitar and Drum kit.
As I sat and listened, I couldn't help but feel happy and warm - and I forgot about feeling nervous for my Bharatanatyam performance! Soon enough it was time, and as the amazing Yousuf Ali Khan played his composition on the tabla I found myself absorbed in the intricate rhythms, my feet moving and responding with dance; I was improvising! It was something I had been so nervous about - and we had only met for 5 minutes before the event, so there was minimal time for rehearsals. But as the band played, I let go of my inhibitions and let myself dance. The music gave me energy - it was such a fantastic feeling!
We had a short interval and in the second half I performed with the band again - this time to Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast, an old Bollywood Song (from the film Mohra). It was strange that they played this song, as it is one of my all-time favourites. As a toddler I always used to dance around the living room to this song! So I felt a lot more relaxed and enjoyed dancing in-conversation with the band. I still danced in the Bharatanatyam style, and I didn't feel tired at all! The audience really seemed to enjoy it - and I loved every second of the experience.
Hopefully we'll collaborate again at some point in the near future...watch this space!