Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weddings, Weddings, and More Weddings in India

I'm making a documentary about bellydance in India! Check it out:

Weddings in India are an extravagant affair. Those with money to spend go all out. A typical middle class wedding budget runs at about $100 000. This covers an outdoor party lawn with a gorgeous setup, a huge buffet dinner, non-stop performances - the whole nine yards.

In just a couple of months I've danced in countless weddings in Delhi and around. Sometimes I'm the only bellydancer, other times I'm one out of four or five. Indian dance groups perform to popular Bollywood songs. Some specialty acts include a human fountain, or a girl dancing in a giant martini glass. Western women are often hired as hostesses, whose tasks vary from greeting guests to cocktail waitressing. The more foreigners in the cast, the more prestige. 

Performers have a big stage all for themselves, the bride and the groom sit on a separate one. Typically we don't even see the happy couple throughout the whole event! In this respect an Indian wedding is very different from an Arabic or Western one. We are there to entertain the guests - not the newlyweds themselves. And entertain we do. 

Wedding venues are huge, and stages are big too.
Bride arriving for the wedding ceremony. All eyes and tons of cameras are on her. 
Life of Krishna dramatization. These silver painted dancers looked incredible.
With Poppy, an Indian dancer. This party had a carnival theme so my bellydance costume got tuned up with feathers.
As "bridesmaids" with Janka Redechova. In addition to bellydancing, we ushered the bride and the groom onto the stage. It was a great chance to see the wedding procession up close.