Ahmedabad, India

Ahmedabad, India

1992 Ahmedabad, India : Attention to Diet is Critical


Darpana & Kadamb Academies; NID (National Institute of Design)


Modern dance master classes taught by Jonathan Hollander at Darpana, Kadamb and other dance schools.

Performance by Battery Dance Company at Darpana.

Choreography project by Jonathan Hollander utilizing one of India’s most acclaimed dancers Mallika Sarabhai and her partner Sasidharan Nair, and a group of 20 dancers from Darpana, the professional dance school and company launched by Mrinalini Sarabhai and led by her daughter Mallika.

Cultural Adaptation

Traveling as a dance company in India requires special attention. There are plenty of “do’s and don’t’s” and whereas tourists and other visitors for whom health is not absolutely paramount can get away with being experimental, it is best for dancers to be ultra conservative. Dancing with Delhi Belly is not fun!

Here are the rules Battery Dance Company followed:

  • Only bottled water (check the cap to make sure it hasn’t been opened and re-filled)

  • No to “filtered water”

  • No salads

  • No fruit that you can’t peel (say “no” to strawberries!)

  • Yes to drinking green coconut

  • Yes to drinking lime juice and soda water if your stomach is acting up

  • No street food

  • No ice

The difficult thing is to deal with all of these rules when invited to someone’s home for a meal. It is so awkward to refuse someone’s hospitality. Explain dietary issues beforehand and apologize profusely for being so picky.

India is a conundrum because the luxury at the high end (5-star hotels and some private homes) is beyond anything imaginable; but the poverty and health risks are intense elsewhere.

Travel in 2nd class trains may sound romantic but after a few hours of shaking, sweating, breathing dusty air and being awakened by screaming hawkers at every station (no matter what the hour) the romance wears off. If you are performing the next day, this kind of physical abuse and exhaustion can be dangerous. (And if you are being met at your final destination by dignitaries and a brass band, as BDC were, you don’t want to appear disheveled and unwashed. (How do Indians manage to arrive fully starched and decorous no matter that they were traveling in the same grueling conditions that you were?)

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