It was a night of expression, action and entertainment as the inaugural Short+ Sweet Bollywood festival concluded in a colorful style in front of a full Factory Fusebox Theatre in Marrickville on March 22 , 2015.
Bollywood dance is not only famous in India, but now it is getting recognition at International level as well with so many Bollywood dancers performing different dance styles in variety of shows throughout the world.
It is a highly energetic dance style where the whole body is used to express – from the toes to the very tips of the fingers and everything in between! With the Bollywood craze picking up in Australia, many Bollywood dance schools have been set up in Australia.
Keeping this in view, Short +Sweet organizers for the very first time created a new dance competition with name Short+Sweet Bollywood thereby providing an opportunity to the Bollywood dancers and dance schools to show their creativity on stage. Aishveryaa Nidhi, Festival Director for Short+Sweet Bollywood was overwhelmed with the response of the participants.
Aish has won millions of hearts by making her every character live. And, in this odyssey to stardom, she has faced all odds to relive the theatre in Sydney. With a determination to promote theatre and to make the people aware about it here, she started ‘Abhinay School of Performing Arts’ in 2007.
Aishveryaa is associated with Short+Sweet since 2009. With the inaugural of Short+Sweet Bollywood festival, she has taken the initiative to connect the Indian community to Australian Arts scene .
Aishveryaa is the first Indian artist to get nominated for best Actress in Short + Sweet in 2009. Her play ‘Quarantine’ bagged third position in ‘Audience Choice’ week 1 in Short+Sweet, Sydney 2011.
Under her guidance, her theatre company Abhinay School of Performing Arts was awarded Best Quality Independent Theatre Company (2012).
In Short+Sweet, Sydney 2013, week 7 her play ‘Imperfectly Frank’ bagged the third position in ‘Audience Choice’ week 7. Aishveryaa is the only Indian director to be invited to present her play in the People’s Choice Showcase (2014).
Her play ‘Irish Stew’ got third place in ‘Audience Choice Showcase’, Short+Sweet, Sydney 2014 ,whereas the other play ‘Oh! India bagged the second position in Week 5, Short+Sweet, Sydney 2014 .
She praised the standard of performers and congratulated all the participants.
Speaking about the festival response she said, “The festival has been an outstanding success and we will return even bigger and better next year.
As the festival happened for the first time, it was difficult to bring people together , but despite all odds the festival went really well. It was a great representation and the competition brought the best of the various Indian dance forms on stage.” Speaking about the Bollywood dance form, Aishveryaa said, “Bollywood dance is easy on the eye as the dramatic facial expressions and cinematic style means any viewer, dance enthusiast or not, can follow the story. It is a multilayered experience where music, dance, drama, storytelling and performance come together to create a magical world where anything is possible, so Bollywood dance form is perfect for Short+Sweet format,” added Aishveryaa.
Among the judges and presenters were Indian Consul General Sunjay Sudhir, Anupam Sharma , Raj Suri , Pirrozi Desai and Mark Cleary.
Film Producer and Actor Raj Suri, said, “It is Short and Sweet! That is the essence of this festival.”
“I was a delight to be invited as a judge for Short + Sweet Bollywood Dance festival Sydney 2015 . We have great talent in Australia who are inspired by “Bollywood” – its dance, colour and stories. Such events give an opportunity for all Australian lovers of Bollywood to express themselves right here in Australia.”
“Above all, it opens the culture of Bollywood into the main stream Australians which helps the cross culture awareness. I am sure this dance festival will grow and include more talent and dance groups from around Australia.”
“The focus is purely on the performance and talent on the stage with minimum external factors. That is what matters in the end for any performer – which I like to emphasise even in my workshops with talent in Australia – it is only your real craft which helps you on the stage – everything else does not matter,” added Raj Suri.
Anupam Sharma, Producer and Director at Films and Casting studio said, “It was a delight and honour to judge the inaugural Short +Sweet Bollywood dance festivals.”
“Short+Sweet is a great festival with a lot of heart welcoming talent from everywhere , and so it was not a big surprise to see performances of such high standard,” added Anupam.
Filmmaker and academician Vikrant Kishore said, “Short and Sweet Festival is a global festival brand, and it was great to see that this year the festival picked up Bollywood dance in its fold.”
“Bollywood dance has a worldwide presence, with many multi-platforms links, and probably it is one of the biggest exports to the world from the Indian film industry. It was great to see the Short +Sweet Bollywood festival took place under the able leadership and guidance of the festival director Aishveryaa Nidhi; who meticulously planned the festival, roped in some great Indian dance group and prepared an assortment of events spread over three days that saw some wonderful performances,” said Vikrant.
“Indians in Sydney supported the festival wholeheartedly and enjoyed the performances put up by the groups. I thank Short and Sweet festival for recognizing the powerhouse that Bollywood is and for providing a chance to the local Indian dance groups to showcase their talent. I hope to see this festival organized on a yearly basis all over Australia,” he added.
Shabnam Tavakol, who was awarded as the best female dancer in the festival said, “I am elated that the judges awarded me as the best female dancer at this very professionally organised event.
“I hope to see more professionally organised community based platforms like Short+Sweet Bollywood to help the artists grow and improve their work”.
Various dance schools from Sydney presented the best of their dance skills and Swastik Institute of Dance scooped the pool of major prizes including Best Overall Production and the People’s Choice (audience vote) awards.
The prize for the most Innovative Style was won by Monsuun Dance whereas the best choreographer award went to Sumati Lekhi of Swastik Institute of Dance. In the youth division (“Fast+Fresh”) Shaimak Show Kids won both the judges’ and the people’s choice awards with Prabhati Banerjee and Swastik Institute 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Winners of Fast+Fresh Bollywood
- Shaimak Show Kids
Judge’s Choice Kids
- First place – Shaimak Show Kids
- Second Place – Raina Jain
- Third Place – Shivani Kumar and Tanvi Kumar
Winners of Short+Sweet Bollywood
- Swastik Institute of Dance
- Best Production – Swastik Institute of Dance
- Most Innovative Style – Monsuun Dance
- Best New Talent – John Bosco and Smritie Bhardwaj
- Best Choreographer – Sumati Lekhi
- Best Male Dancer – Akash Arora and Ajesh Sharma
- Best Female Dancer – Shabnam Tavakol