Monday, September 29, 2008

Indian Dance in Taipei

Anyone looking to take an Indian dance class in Taipei need look no further than Shiva. Assuming, of course, that you speak Chinese.

Shiva is the first group I've come across who offer classes in Indian dance; mostly Bollywood-style hip jiggling, but the head teacher also knows Kathak and a few other dance forms.

I've been a fan of Zhongshan Sports Center's classes for awhile - though their bellydancing classes seem to teach moves more akin to traditional Chinese dances, they're not bellylicious at all - but they don't offer Indian dance. Shiva fills that void.

My friend Sasha has just taken one of their classes and performed in the recital. I did her mehndi (henna) the night before, and while I was on a roll I did my own as well. We went to see her and had a lovely time, as many of the dancers are quite skilled and the instructor is the most talented Kathak dancer I've seen outside India.

Too bad his silver lame and purple trim dancing costume made him look like a flamboyant spaceman. Ahem.

Another highlight of the evening was hearing the director of the Taipei-India Association speak. He talked about how great it was that these beautiful Taiwanese girls were learning about Indian dance and Indian culture (Sasha assured me that if I wanted to take a class, a foreigner would also be welcome), and how the India-Taipei Association works to promote person-to-person relations between the two areas. Person-to-person. Ah, the talk of a diplomat. Gotta love it.

Some photos:

End note: if you want to buy the henna in tubes with pointed applicator ends, you can get it at Rana Fashion for around 30 kuai a tube. They also sell Indian fashions like the ones worn above. Rana Fashion is in Ximending near The Body Shop and accessible by Ximen Exit 6. I don't know the exact address.

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