The Zee London Mela 2017 was this year held on Sunday 3rd September returning to Gunnersbury Park in Acton, West London and was celebrating it’s 15th year and was once again free entry for all.
Jay Kumar was once again this year tasked to be the Curator/Program Creator of the newly named LOVE TO DANCE Stage replacing the Community Stage from previous London Melas. The Love To Dance Stage was hosted by Jay Kumar and Anila Dhami (Broadcast Journalist and TV Presenter).
As this year was the 70th Year of Independence of India and Pakistan, Jay created a section called Celebrating 70 which was highlighting different dances from across the Indian Subcontinent, many that had never been seen before at the London Mela.
The Artists/Groups that performed during the Celebrating 70 sections were :
- Radha Binod Sharma’s IMA Foundation which presented traditional and distinctive dance forms from the North-east states of India – Assam Bihu and Shatriya Dance, Mizoram Bamboo Dance and Manipur Leima Jagoi at the London Mela 2017 for the first time.
- Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence, founded by award-winning artiste Ragasudha Vinjamuri, performed Lambadi dance from Indian state of Telangana.
- Inspiring Indian Women (IIW) performed Giddha from Punjab, Lavani from Maharashtra, Rajastani and Thiruvathira dances.
- Sur Bharti Indian Women’s Collective performed Koli dance of the ethnic fishermen community of coastal Maharashtra
- The Bhavan performed Bharatnatyam dances from South India
Also performing on stage were some young artists from Beeja Dance Company performing Bharatnatyam and Kathak and were representing the Croydon International Mela that was taking place on 30th September.
Other fabulous performances were, Dhol Drummers from Dhol Movement, Ravi Sandhu’s Pungra dancers that did a fantastic Bhangra Interactive session and Bhangra Punjabian Da (BPD) performing modern Bhangra dances.
The Nepalese Embassy had some Nepalese dancers performing some traditional dances.
Bollywood was represented by Sumeet’s Step2Step Bollywood Dance Academy and also dynamic performances by Jay Kumar’s DanceAsia. The Jai Ho Dancers also did a couple of performances on stage and also on the ground as part of the Zamana outdoor spectacle created for the Mela Partnership – the helium balloon and Ariel dancer part of Zamana sadly did not take place due to strong winds.
The Dance With Jay Kumar session towards the end got everyone dancing at the Love To Dance Stage which then closed with a short DJ session with DJ Saiqa from Leeds.