Monday, January 30, 2023

Hindus urge Cardiff’s New Theatre to drop culturally insensitive ballet “La Bayadère”

Hindus are urging the New Theatre in Cardiff (Wales) to withdraw “La Bayadère” ballet; scheduled for January 17-18, 2023; which they feel seriously trivializes Eastern religious and other traditions.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that New Theatre Cardiff, which claims to be “Most Welcoming Theatre in Wales” since 1906, should not be in the business of callously promoting appropriation of traditions, elements and concepts of “others”; and ridiculing entire communities.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that this deeply problematic ballet was just a blatant belittling of a rich civilization and exhibited 19th-century orientalist attitudes. He also urged New Theatre Cardiff to apologize for such an inappropriate offering.

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New Theatre Cardiff should have shown some maturity before blessing a ballet like “La Bayadère” (The Temple Dancer), displaying Western caricaturing of Eastern heritage and abetting ethnic stereotyping; Rajan Zed noted.

It was highly irresponsible for an establishment like New Theatre Cardiff to allow such a ballet which had been blamed for patronizing flawed mishmash of orientalist stereotypes, dehumanizing cultural portrayal and misrepresentation, offensive and degrading elements, needless appropriation of cultural motifs, essentialism, shallow exoticism, caricaturing, etc. New Theatre Cardiff could do better than this to serve its diverse stakeholders; Zed stated.

Rajan Zed suggested New Theatre Cardiff to re-evaluate its systems and procedures and send its staff for cultural sensitivity training so that such inappropriate stuff did not slip through in the future.

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Like many others, Hindus also consider ballet as one of the revered art forms which offers richness and depth. But we are well into 21st century now, and outdated “La Bayadère”, which was first presented in St. Petersburg (Russia) in 1877, is long overdue for permanent retirement from the world stage; Zed points out.

Marina Medvetskaya is reportedly the artistic director of “La Bayadère”, which is shown as the presentation of The International Classic Ballet Theatre. New Theatre, “in the heart of Cardiff”, claims to host “the best live entertainment, musicals and comedy in Wales”.

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