General Description of Work: Among Indians in Iowa, family and community get-togethers, which include weddings, religious holidays, and purely social gatherings involve plentiful food, music, dance, and a variety of activities. Mehdhi and dance represent only a very few of those activities.
Mehndi (aka Henna), which makes use of henna paste, is a temporary tattoo, most often used to decorate the hands and feet of brides prior to their wedding as well for festivals and special occasions like engagements, baby showers, and other times of celebration. Applied with a stylus in intricate paisley patterns, the brown paste dries and flakes off, leaving a dark orange dye on the skin for anywhere from 1-4 weeks.
Mehndi originated centuries ago in India, Pakistan, and North Africa. Mehndi is a natural plant dye and the color produced by it is shades of orange. It has no artificial chemicals and hence causes no harmful side effects. Mehndi paste works as conditioner for hair. It makes hair shiny, silky, soft, and tints the graying hair.
Indian dance is a blend of rhythmic and dramatic elements and feature intricate and specialized hand and footplacement with the extremities flexed rather than pointed, as in Western classical dance. There are several classical dance forms (e.g. Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi), which require years of specialized training and schooling, and many folk dances, which represent regional and ethnic traditions. Classical dance is based on Indian myths and folk tales and was traditionally performed for ritual purposes, at temples and at court. Most traditional folk dance, on the other hand, are inspired by themes of everyday life and are most often performed on social occasions, for weddings, and local celebrations and parties.
Bio: Sonal Mistry was born in Gujarat, India. She has been living in the US since 1995. She is a professional Mehndi or Henna designer and is also very well versed in Indian culture, arts, crafts and dances. Sonal earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Chemistry from Gujarat University, India.
Sonal is a natural born artist. She improved her art and henna skills during her school and college studies. As a professional henna designer she has successfully completed numerous henna designs for special occasions such as engagement, wedding, bridal shower, baby showers, birthday parties, etc., in India as well as in the USA.
Sonal learned dandiya (stick dance) at very young age through her involvement in cultural and folk dance activities. She perfected her dandiya/garba dance by participating in various folks dance competitions. She is known as one of the best dandiya/garba dancer and teacher in Iowa.
Over the years she has shared/taught her knowledge about Indian culture (henna, dandiya and garba) at Hawkeye Community College (Waterloo), and many grade schools in the Cedar Falls and Des Moines areas. Mrs. Mistry is also a Cultural Ambassador for World of Difference, the Iowa-based non-profit organization that provides hands-on, interactive workshops to schools in order to immerse students in other cultures.
Services Offered 1: Mehndi demonstrations and talk for classes and festivals.
Services Offered 2: Gujarati Folk Dances
There are several forms of Dandiya (Dandia) Dance, performed at Navratri (festival of nine nights) time in Gujarat, India, is the most popular form. In Dandiya Dance, men and women dance in two circles, with sticks in their hands. “Dandiya" or sticks, are about 18" long. The women wear traditional dresses such as colorful embroidered choli, ghagra and bandhani dupattas (traditional attire) dazzling with mirror work and heavy jewelry. The men wear special turbans and kedias, but this varies regionally. Dandiya will always be dynamic as it represents the circle of life, beating of heart. It is a live folk form that has changed with time and will keep changing. Today, Dandiya is not only an important part of Navratri in Gujarat, but extends itself to other festivals related to harvest and crops as well.
Garba Dance is a popular folk Dance of Gujarat. It is a circular form of dance performed by ladies on the Navratri days, Sharad Purnima, Vasant Panchami, Holi and such other festive occasions. The basics of the dance are singing and clapping rhythmically while going round the goddess. Garba is the leading dance of women in Gujarat. The Garba dance is performed throughout nine nights of Navaratri. The actual performance begins at night after the women finish their house hold work. All gather at street corners. Women folk come out into the open and with perforated earthen pots holding lighted lambs poised on the head sing, clap. Garba songs are mostly in praise of Mother Goddess Amba. The rhythm is kept by a Dholi or drummer who sits in the centre. Both men and women usually wear colorful costumes while performing garba and dandiya dance. The girls and the women wear ghaghra choli, a three-piece dress with choli on the top and ghaghra as bottom, made of cotton with beads, shells, mirrors, sitars, and embroidery work, mati, jhumkas, necklaces, bindi, bajubandh, chudas and kangans, kamarbandh, payal, and mojiris and dupatta tucked in the Gujarati manner. Boys and men wear kafni pyjamas with a kediyu - a short round kurta - above the knees and pagadi on the head with bandhini dupatta, kada, and mojiris.
Sanedo Dance contains couplets of four lines and has striking resemblance to Bhavai, a folk drama from Gajarat. The original pronunciation and word is derived from the word Sneh, meaning love or affection. In this dance, couples do the dance when music is played during first four couplets. In the next four couplets, the singer provides Bhavia dialogues during which time couples sit down and listen. This pattern of music and dialogue continues throughout the sanedo dance. In Sanedo dance people can perform various actions and steps. Sanedo originated from the villages of Patan district in Gajarat and it has become a very popular dance all over Gujarat and also among the Gujarati speaking population in North America and Britain. It is frequently played during the festival of Navratri, during wedding celebrations and during parties. Gujarati folk artist Arvind Barot performed Sanedo on stages in 1980s and deserves credit for bringing Sanedo to mainstream, but it was due to another Gujarati folk artist, Maniraj Barot that Sanedo is famous among all Gujarati people and being played at Navratri festival and many wedding parties. Sanedo's topic can be anything from romance, youth or satire. The music played in the background during a Sanedo recital is from a unique musical instrument called 'Daklu'. It is similar in shape to a drum but is considerably larger in size.
Regions: All Regions
Months available: : Year round.
Performance fees, mileage charges, related to arts services: : Contact to negotiate fees + travel and supply costs.
Accessibility accommodations, space requirements, equipment and all other needs
that should be met by sponsors: : Mehndi: Table, 2-3 chairs Folk Dance: Large, cleared room (min. 15x15)