Earlier this year, the Secretary – General Of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan proposed to the Ambassadors to ASEAN to consider organising activities such as exhibitions, performing arts, cultural exchanges, and round table talks at the ASEAN Secretariat as part of efforts to enhance awareness and understanding between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners through culture and the arts. This idea has taken the ASEAN Secretariat and the Embassy of India in Jakarta together to organise an Indian Cultural Night to ASEAN last night at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta.

Representing Dr. Surin Pitsuwan was H.E. Ms. Alicia Dela Rosa Bala, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, who said, “ASEAN has vigorously pursued an engagement with all Dialogue and Development Partners for the past four decades of its existence. In this regard, ASEAN attaches great importance to its relation with India. ASEAN outward looking policy towards its Community Building endeavours and India’s look at policies adopted since 1991 have worked well for the furthering of a mutually beneficial partnership.” Further according to DSG Alicia Bala, “We are grateful and indeed appreciative of India’s active role for its initiative. The Indian Cultural Night to ASEAN tonight is the first of its kind; organized at the ASEAN Secretariat and that indeed, would help in promoting closer partnership between ASEAN and India.”

Welcoming the guests to the event was H.E. Mr. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to ASEAN, who greeted 150 guests as well as diplomatic corps members in Jakarta who were invited to admire the graceful Indian classical Kathak dance performed by the dance troop from the India Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Mr. Singh who stressed the importance of the good connectivity between ASEAN and India, was enthusiastic to introduce guests to the featured dance that uses technical precision and  lyrical grace called Kathak.

Kathak is a highly evolved classical dance style of North India. Evolved out of a tradition of telling mythological stories through mimetic dancing, Kathak has crystallized into a unique style of art dance. In Kathak, while the body moves like gentle curves of a blossoming creeper and tendril like hands materialize poetry in space, the feet move, if at one time producing the murmur of a stream, at another time, a cascade of sparkling diamonds of the rainbow falls. The ankle bells of a Kathak dancer play an important role in the dance, especially in the non-narrative pure dance passages in which the complex rhythmic patterns of the accompanying percussive music are visually interpreted through intricate footwork and graceful body movement.