Canadians might think they know a lot about India, but they may also find themselves surprised at all the things they don't at a special event next month.
The Rotary Club of Fort St. John is hosting Bollywood Nite at the Lido Theatre on Oct. 14, to showcase the country's diverse range of culture and dance before capping things off with a movie screening.
"If you say Europe is a continent, then India is also a continent. France and Germany and Italy and Spain are strikingly different from each other, from language, writing, culture, food, everything. India has around 29 to 30 provinces, and they are also different from each other, completely," said Raj Acharjee, an organizer for the event.
"This event is showcasing that even in Indian culture we are multicultural."
Most Canadians are familiar with Indian culture that comes from the northern region of Punjab, Acharjee said, but the country's regions vary from north to south, and coast to coast.
For example, Goa, on India's southwestern coast, was ruled by the Portuguese for hundreds of years and that influence remains in its architecture and place names and dance. It's dance is more carnival in style compared to the Bhangra dance popular in the Punjab region.
Acharjee has amassed five sets of costumes from India to outfit the Energetic Dance Explosion, which is choreographing and performing five different regional dance routines on Bollywood Nite, from the carnival dance of Goa, to the slum dances of southern India.
Even the dance group itself is a multicultural cast — performers are from Canada, the U.S., Korea, the Philippines, and India.
"This shows how Fort St. John is emerging as a multicultural (city)," Acharjee said. "That's the strength of this place."
Aneudy Grullon, who leads the Energetic Dance Explosion, is from the Dominican Republic, and has spent the last month and a half preparing for the show. Learning about India and its culture and languages and dance has been a lesson, he said.
"I do this for fun," Grullon said. "I love dancing and I want to show Fort St. John a little bit more."
Bollywood Nite takes place on Sunday, Oct. 14, with shows at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The dance performances will be followed by a screening of the 2013 hit Bollywood movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, a coming-of-age romantic comedy whose title translates to "This Youth is Crazy" and follows the relationship of two students who meet in college and again later in their lives.
Proceeds from the event will support the building of an inclusive playground at Margaret 'Ma' Murray Community School.
"We are also trying to involve the immigrant community to give back to community," Acharjee said.
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