MANDALA was a strikingly bold production that pushed South Asian performing arts into new territory, as the result of a collaboration between Sampad and leading arts and technology company, seeper.
The dazzling outdoor performances of MANDALA took place in September 2012, illuminating Town Hall, Birmingham and Nottingham Council House with a kaleidoscope of movement, drama, stunning British Asian dance and music and 3D technicolour light projections.
The performances provided a spectacular finale to the London 2012 Festival, which showcased the UK’s world-class culture and gave people across the country an opportunity to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Directed by Kully Thiarai, with choreography by Aakash Odedra and artistic direction by Sampad Director, Piali Ray, MANDALA aimed to present South Asian dance and music in a fresh and exciting new way.
It united mesmerising British Asian dancers Aakash Odedra and Devika Rao, hip-hop/streetdance collective Bboy’s Attic and a company of artists, mixing the beautiful forms of classical Asian dance with edgy, urban attitude.
The striking dance sequences were set to a powerful soundtrack that featured the music of world-class artists Anoushka Shankar and Zakir Hussain and the performance culminated with an uplifting live appearance by multi award-winning tabla artist, Talvin Singh.
The façades of Town Hall Birmingham and Nottingham Council House formed an interactive backdrop for the shows and the structures came to life with stunning visual effects and 3D digital light projections triggered by the live South Asian music and dance.
A mandala is a circular symbol that represents the universe in some Eastern religions. The performance reflected on our journeys through life and how we are all shaped by our experiences. The mandala shape formed by the light projections symbolised the idea that the past, present and future are all part of a never-ending life cycle and also represented our collective histories and cultural heritage. The performances aimed to spark a mood of joy and celebration, inspiring audiences to salute the achievements of the past and to renew their collective hopes for the future.
Seeing MANDALA come to life was one of Sampad’s proudest and most memorable achievements to date and we were truly thrilled that it was enjoyed by more than twelve thousand people across three performances.
MANDALA was made possible by generous funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council. We are also grateful to all of our generous supporters who donated money via WeFund and PayPal or sent cash or cheques to help to make Mandala possible. You can download the full list of supporters below.
MANDALA in Birmingham started with a swing with a free live outdoor set by seriously hot dhol’n’brass band Red Baraat, presented by Town Hall, Birmingham and Asian Arts Agency. The evening also kicked off Birmingham’s Artsfest 2012 , the UK’s biggest free arts festival.
MANDALA in Nottingham marked the opening weekend for the World Event for Young Artists as part of its Sunday Fiesta, and the final weekend of MelaFest 2012, presented by New Art Exchange and Nottingham Asian Arts Council.
Watch the full Mandala performance:
Watch the trailer for Mandala: