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Monday, June 27, 2022

Final soiree for Leeds Lord Mayor at RadhaRaman International Dance Festival

The second-annual RadhaRaman International Dance Festival is honouring Cllr Asghar Khan in his final few days as the 127th Lord Mayor of Leeds.

An international dance festival is being dedicated to Councillor Asghar Khan, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, as he celebrates his final few days in office.

The RadhaRaman Dance Festival is back for its second year after delays to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be donating all the proceeds from the tickets of the dance festival to Cllr Khan’s chosen charity as Lord Mayor, the Leeds Hospital Charity.

The festival is organised by Ahmed Kaysher, a poet, fiction writer, film and literature critic and director of Saudha, Society of Poetry and Indian Music, a leading platform for South Asian classical arts.

Mr Kaysher is the co-founder and curator of the RadhaRaman International Dance Festival.

Mr Kaysher is the co-founder and the curator of the RadhaRaman Society’s much-acclaimed RadhaRaman Folk Festival.

Established in 2010, the festival based around Harehills, Chapeltown and Chapel Allerton has been described as “the best of exotic rural music and other Bengali art on the world stage”, promoting Bengali folk music and dance to both the South Asian and wider community across the city.

The poet launched the society’s newest venture, the International Dance Festival, in 2019 before the UK went into lockdown.

He says next week’s festival will be a “true celebration of joy” where people can come together to watch and join in all types of dances from around the world from the Mohoniyattam to the Samba.

Mr Kaysher said: “This is our first RadhaRaman International Dance Festival since the pandemic and it will feature a wide array of dance performances from different traditions.

“People can expect to see dances from the South Asian community including Mohonjatyam, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Bengali wedding dances and folk dances. As well as dances from Latin America, Spain and Ireland.”

The festival will also include different mashups, fusions, and amalgamations of dances, with traditional Bengali dances combined with flamenco dance moves.

“After the pandemic, this festival is a true celebration of joy and life through colourful dance”

“The festival will not only feature traditional dance performances but different fusions including the mix of Latin American styles with Bengali wedding dances, for example. There will be different interpretations of different dances from different communities,” the festival’s co-founder said.

Santosh Nair dancing the Bharatnatyam.

He added: “The international dance festival was started by the RadhaRaman Society two years ago, just before we went into quarantine because of Covid-19. This will be the second one.

“The society is most known for putting on its annual RadhaRaman Folk Festival, which usually goes ahead in July but will be going ahead in September this year.”

The festival will feature Mohonjatyam dancer Ranjitha Chawalloor, Bharatnatyam dancer Santosh G Nair, Kuchipudi dancer Vrata Chigateri, Bengali folk dancer Sohel Ahmed, and Latin American dancers dancing the Samba, Jive, and Tango from Caprice Dance Academy, among many others.

He added: “The festival has been supported by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Asghar Khan with ticket sales going to his chosen charity, the Leeds Hospitals Charity.

“People should expect the unexpected when it comes to dance performances. After the pandemic, this festival is a true celebration of joy and life through colourful dance. We are expecting some local councillors, MPs, and dignitaries to join.

“Through this festival, we are giving a farewell to Cllr Khan as the Lord Mayor of Leeds, for his remarkable contribution to the city.”

The Festival is being held at Leeds Civic Hall on Sunday 22 May at 4pm.

For tickets, please visit here.


Mohonjatyam: An Indian classical dance form that evolved in the state of Kerala, India, and is counted among the two popular dance arts of the state, the other being Kathakali.

Samba: A dance introduced to Brazil by African people characterised by rapid rhythmic steps and a swaying, rocking motion from the dancers made to lively beats.

Bharatanatyam: Bharatanatyam is a major Hindu form of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu and contains different types of banis (traditions).

Kuchipudi: Kuchipudi is one of the eight major Indian classical dances. It originates from a village named Kuchipudi in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra.

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