FILMING for a cultural documentary has been taking place around Basingstoke and is set to showcase 30 years of major ancient Indian classical dance being performed in the UK.

Odissi was first introduced to people living in Hampshire three decades ago by Kala The Arts, based in Basingstoke, which now acts as a national centre of excellence in this form of dance.

Now locations including Basing House and Market Chambers have taken centre stage in the filming of the Odissi in the UK project.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery, so far the project has filmed Gudrun Mertins, an Odissi dancer in the barn of Old Basing House, capturing glimpses of local dancers telling their stories through movements sharing their heritage.

Also featuring in the documentary is councillor Teri Reid, portfolio holder for arts and culture for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, and Stephen Lowy manager of Red House museum- who have worked in partnership with Sushmita Pati, director of Kala the Arts.

Linn O’ Carroll, project manager of Odissi in the UK said: “We are currently mapping and archiving the journey of Odissi from 1980s to date in this project so that there is a lasting digital legacy that can inspire future generations.”

For all the participants taking part in the project, it is giving them the opportunity to have their moment in the spot light, all of which has been possible thanks to Kala the Arts.

One of the participants, Mira Phagami, said: “It was really amazing experience with all lights, camera and song, I feel like a star for a while.

“Thank you Kala the Arts and Guru Sushmitaji for adding this wonderful encounter in my life.”

Next year Kala celebrates 20 years of working and delivering projects in working in Basingstoke, engaging with hard-to-reach audiences, developing and promoting the love of Asian dance across communities across Hampshire.

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