[ By Marie-Blaise Capo-Chichi ]
Contrary to the unpredictable weather and fears of rain, a cool evening breeze welcomed the attendants to the amphitheatre of Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus on the night of 10 April. Sitting under the canopies located at the University Square were about a hundred guests.
The night began with a few words from guest of honour Professor Perry Hobson, Vice Chancellor of Global Engagement, and an impromptu visit from the dean of the American Degree Programme, shortly followed by a welcoming address by the organiser of the event, Harisha Teeluck, wishing the audience an enjoyable and unforgettable night.
After light refreshments, we were transported through the high plains, the lush greeneries and the incredibly aquamarine shores of Mauritius, leaving the audience fervently looking forward to the rest of the night. We were treated to a fashion show starring Yaasir, Vayuna, Rya, Akshay, Nidah, Deepesh, Dipti, Neha, Vanan, Rubina, Kevin and Kushboo, with the models dressed in sarees, kurtas, sega dresses, cheongsams and Western-styled attires, proudly showing off the multicultural nature of their country.
After the excitement of the show, everyone was invited to have dinner; on the menu were biryani, a vegetarian side dish and fruits. After the hearty meal and excited conversations amongst attendees, Ashley and Rion serenaded the audience with a musical delight. As Rion strummed away on his guitar, Ashley’s voice lulled the audience into a trance. After thundering applause from the audience, the MCs – Zaahir Dawood, from Mauritius, and Guzelle Shahid, from Pakistan, introduced the traditional Marathi and Bhojpuri dance performances by Akshay, Dipti and Ashna. The performance brought to life the Indian culture infused in Mauritius, and the energetic and enthusiastic dancing kept the audience on the edge of their seats.
This performance transitioned into a Bollywood-esque setting with twirls of fabric, eloquent hand movements and flashes of red as the girls danced invigoratingly to Bollywood music. The girls – Vayuna, Rya, Nidah, Neha and Risha, finished their performance to tumultuous applause from the audience.
From there we dived headfirst into the last show of the night, an island dance called the Sega dance. The two performers, Kushboo and Dipti, dressed in Sega attire, started the show with elegant foot work harmonised with a hypnotising sway-twirl of the waist, almost rivalling belly dancing; soon the male performers Vanan and Kevin joined in, leaving the audience entranced by the performance, thus spectacularly ending the night’s festivities. As per Mauritian tradition though, the audience was invited to join the performers on stage to share their mirth, taking part in the celebrations before heading home after this culturally eye-opening night.