Photo Credits : Novoderezhkin Anton
On the very first day of the festival, there was a casting call for the musical which is to be presented on the last day of the event. The casting call is to all the delegates who were attending the event. There were 25000 delegates from 183 countries and the musical aimed at integrating talented singers cum dancers who can be a part of the musical.
While my fellow participants were planning a Sochi city tour, it was a tough decision for me to plan to attend the casting call. However the big names involved motivated me to skip the city tour and I found my way to Ice Cube Multi-Purpose Area where the auditions were happening. I absolutely had no clue of what to present but I had a strong ambition to be a part of the musical. I have been hearing the names of the Great Russian musicians, ballerinas and even the thought of observing the work of the great choreographers from such close quarters thrilled me.
Photo Credits : Tanay S. Tridal
I reached Ice-cube only to realize that the auditions were postponed to the next day. The start was not great but I got some time to discuss with the volunteers over there to understand the process of auditions and this triggered my thought process on how to present my ideas to the team. The next day I was back to the auditions and it was great to meet Mr. Andrey Tsvetkov- Tolbin - producer of the Opera Theatre of the Russian Academy of Music. Gnesin, winner of the award "NANO-OPERA". I tried explaining him about the Indian classical dance background I had and the intention to be a part of the musical. It was very difficult to explain my thoughts to him as there is no common language between us and I was not really equipped with using google translator by then. But yes, ART needs no language. He understood what I intended to say and I got the point what he meant to convey to me. With half cooked information, I left for the day. I had a strong feeling that I will be a part of the production but I wasn’t sure.
I got a call the next day from one of the volunteers to attend the rehearsals and I jumped with joy. I rushed to the theatre and saw the choreographer of Russian productions of musicals "CATS" and "MAMMA MIA!"- Elvira Taha. It was such a relief to meet her for the main reason- she could understand English and I got a medium to convey my thoughts. And of course, who doesn’t know about “Mamma Mia” and the choreographer of that great musical. It was an absolute delight to talk to her and convey my thoughts to her on how could I contribute to the production. It was a delightful moment for me when she reciprocated to my thoughts and appreciated my enthusiastic approach to the team.
Photo Credits: Tanay S. Tridal
Three full days went with day long rehearsals and that’s what I enjoyed most. Anywhere in the world, a performance presentation and rehearsals takes the same time and patience. We had lots of back stage fun with people from different countries sharing their stories and a chance for me to boast India’s rich cultural heritage. There was an exchange of the practise sessions. I taught the basics of my art form – Kuchipudi to Robert – Russian friend from St. Petersburg who is researching on Indian Art forms (and many others who are interested to learn Indian dance) and he in turn taught me ball room dancing. The rehearsals revealed the level of impact Bollywood had across the globe with people trying to sing Indian Bollywood songs and dancing on them.
Three days went so fast and the final dress rehearsals were done. Our Indian national costume is opined as the best of the world by many of the fellow delegates and what an honour for me!!!! I chose to wear a simple kancheevaram pink silk saree and matched the saree with black metal accessories. I wanted to give a casual Indian lady look and it was well appreciated by everyone. I was so nervous and at the same time delighted to be a part of carnival section where I was singing and dancing. And then came the finale where all the selected delegates to the musical came with their nation’s flag in the festival uniform.
Photo Credits : Novoderezhkin Anton/ Nithin Thomas
Holding the tri- color flag high and presenting my country to the world delegates is one of the unforgettable moments for me in my life time. Representing my country INDIA on the global platform is what every Indian artist would wish for and I am so glad I was able to do that.
Special thanks to Kristine, Niks and Sergio for helping me with the Russian translation. Sweet souls!! God bless you!! If you would like to read my overall experience in participating in WFYS 2017, please click here.