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Dance at Mela 2009

One of the most exciting aspects of the Maidstone Mela is the different dance forms performed at the event. The 2009 Mela saw many varieties of dance entertain audiences.

The Mandy Ellen Performing Arts School performed contemporary dances fusing soft piano melodies with hard edge street beats. The male and female dancers dressed in black dance clothes swayed on the stage with intrinsic dance moves and steps. Projecting modern forms of dance and street style moves in their act.

The dance school is based in Maidstone and encourages local participation. In 2008, the school formed Hip Hop crews and competed in their first regional competition and came 3rd. Some of the performers from the were lucky enough to reach the Live Semi Finals of Britains Got Talent on ITV1 in 2008 and 2009 which is such a fabulous achievement.

Bhangra dancing was performed on stage by Dhol and Dhaki Fusion featuring the 4×4 Dancers, who performed to music from Michael Jackson to traditional dhol beats of the Punjab. The Bhangra dancing was accompanied by numerous dhol players and a singer on stage singing folklore songs to the loud beats.

Bollywood dancing was performed by girls from Mahua Arts. They performed to Bollywood hits like ‘Nach Leh,’ ‘Duhai Hai Duhai’ and ‘Dhola Re’ from Devdas.

The Kent Indian Dance Academy dancer Priya performed a classical and traditional Bharatanatyam dance. Nepalese and Greek communities and even a Gothic Morris dance troop performed too.

Diversity dominates Mela 2009

More than 10,000 people attended the 2009 Maidstone Mela, which celebrated the diversity of the borough through music, food and dance. The Mela was organised in partnership by Maidstone Borough Council and North West Kent Racial Equality Council.

As well as exciting acts on stage, there were more than 60 stalls ranging from diverse local community organisations such as the Finnish Community Association, Congo Action, Voluntary Action Maidstone and Dawn Patrol Rotary Club to public sector agencies such as Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue, the Environment Agency and HM Prison Service, as well as a special Maidstone Borough Council information village.

The previous Mayor Elect of Maidstone, Morel D’Souza, himself Goan, is married to Karin who is from Finland, and they were both promoting diversity of cultures as part of the Finish Community Association, present at the Mela.

For children there was a range of fairground attractions and activities such as dhol drumming workshops, which proved to be very popular.

One of the great things at a mela that brings people together is food. And the food stalls at the Maidstone Mela were a big hit with dishes from Finland, Britain, India, China, Poland, Thailand and Greece.

Jassi Sidhu rocks Maidstone Mela 2009

The 7th Maidstone Mela proved to be a great success. For the first time with the help of funding form Arts Council England the Mela took place over 2 days.

The Mela Night featured Bhangra Star Jassi Sidhu who performed with his full live band. He wooed the crowd with a string of his hits from over the last decade. Although the majority of the crowd would not have understood the lyrics Jassi managed to create a positive interaction with them and by the end many of them were dancing along to the bhangra beat.

Jassi was followed on stage by Mercury a Queen Tribute Band who proved to be as equally popular. In addition to the live performances plus there was an amazing light installation by Emergency Exit Arts which had been commissioned by Cohesion Plus.