Indian Late – British Museum, 17 July 2009

That’s the thing about London… Reading Time Out, you always come across unexpected treasures!

I found out about Indian Late yesterday morning. The programme promised an evening of events, all free. I got there just before 6:30pm and queued straight away for tickets (some events required free entry tickets). I queued for about 40 minutes to be informed, when there were only about 15 people in front of me, that all tickets had gone! Not a good start…

Determined to make the most of my evening, I consulted the programme again.

Performers, Indian Late, British MuseumThe main attraction was the Magic Mela: an evening of 1000 joys; performances of music, song and dance of the Federation of Indian Performing Arts in the Great Court. With a big crowd watching, it was hard to get a good view so I decided to go behind stage and watch from the side. Although not ideal, this offered me glimpses of the performers resting between acts. And throughout the evening, I found myself popping back to watch performances and performers.
Playing Pachisi at the British MuseumThere was an opportunity to find out about Indian board games in Room 1. We had a go at Pachisi, the national game of India. With only two of us, the game did not last long. The rules are not hard to grasp but this game would definitely benefit from having more players so you can get more tactical. Still… we had fun!
Southern India DancingIn Room 17, amidst Greek antiquities, I watched Bharatnatyam dancing from southern India. It felt a lot more colourful and vibrant than the dances in the Great Court. The dancer I watched certainly made me feel that he was dancing a story. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this as best I can… but he wasn’t just dancing, he was acting a dance.
A section of the Great Court was devoted to an art workshop. The Jumbo painting: Vali, Rama and Lakshmana workshop gave people of all ages a chance to join in and their drawings were all added to a growing herd marching across the museum floor… It was highly enjoyable to watch all these elephants, of various shapes and individuality, coming together over the course of the evening.

 Jumbo drawing workshop British Museum jumbo drawing workshop

I don’t know whether last night was a one-off or whether the Museum will organise similar events in the future. It was educational but it was also great fun…. and it was all free!

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I'm an inquisitive being. Everything is an adventure: art, architecture, colours, food, patterns, people... and travel! And I love elephants. That's what I mostly write about.
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