A few days ago, friends Disha Sethi and Bhavya Shah decked up in traditional attire to dance the garba and dandiya indoors to a 90-second mashup playlist competing at Garba Ni Ramjat, an all-India virtual competition held by city-based Bina Mehta. “This year’s Navratri be like no other,” says fashion graduate Disha.
This year, the nine-day Dasara festival that begins on October 17 will make a new beginning with virtual prayers and an online dandiya, and garba sessions.
Earlier, Dasara would take a colourful and exuberant form in these dance festivities organised across Hyderabad. Three three major Navratri events at SS Convention, Shamshabad, SNC Convention in Attapur and Kavita Jain’s Navkar Navaratri Utsav attracted thousands, dressed in their traditional best, dance to the songs belted out by DJs, live bands and an orchestra.
The pandemic changed all that. Disha who has been dancing at garba since a decade says, “Initially it felt weird to dance indoors. One feels energised in a large gathering and live music. In a virtual session, the magic of the crowd is missing but one can have fun by creating one’s own playlist and dance.”
The spark in festivities can be rekindled with virtual sessions, observes Krupa Patel, a host of these garba/dandiya nights. “Fifty one women from across the country had sent their garba videos for the virtual garba competition; We did not expect this kind of participation,” she says. Buoyed by the response, Krupa is now organising a virtual garba session on October 18 for Rotary Club. The event will be judged by actress Regina Cassandra. Also on October 22, 23 and 24, Piyush Shah will host a Navratri photo contest to preserve a moment in time and relive memories.
Dance teacher Ambica Jain of Rangmanch Studio in Himayatnagar will have a Dasara virtual garba camp for children from October 17. She is giving the annual workshop that she conducts a miss in favour of hosting online sessions. Last year the dane academy had called garba teacher Veeru Mallik to conduct classes. “Garba is all about moving according to the music. Move at your pace and the virtual session will be fun,” she promises.