I was excited for this Tuesday’s Explore World Arts performance at Camp Harbor View because unlike the performances of the last two weeks – which had featured terrific African music and dance – this week the campers were to see, and participate in, classical Indian dance. This Tuesday marked the third week in the summer long Explore World Arts series held by the New Center at Camp Harbor View. For more information on the program, please see the New Center’s previous blog post here.

The first thing you notice about classical Indian dancers is their costumes. They wore long dresses made of many colors of bright silk and headdresses bursting with embroidery. Tara Ahmed, a Cambridge based dance instructor and performer, led the dancers through a series of classic dance numbers, with the sound of the bells on their ankles ringing out past the stage. After each dance, the performers explained what each movement meant, and then brought the campers on stage to practice hand gestures and dance moves. Campers learned that classical dancing was originally performed by priests and was a form of worship and entertainment in Indian society, and also that it’s really fun to do!