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A BURST of colour and a tapestry of sound will accentuate the SA Tattoo as it helps to celebrate India’s film industry, known as Bollywood.

The South African Tattoo returns on 6 to 9 September, and this year it will feature one of the country’s oldest Indian dance groups, Anavarata Dance Institute. It will stage a fast-paced 360° performance fusing North Indian, South Indian and Bollywood traditions.

Anusia Govender-Pillay, the director of Anavarata and a daughter of one of the founders, explains: “The SA Tattoo is an historical landmark in the landscape of Indian world culture, and Indo-African relationships on several levels.

“Firstly, it is the first time that Indian culture is being represented in the history of the Tattoo concept in South Africa. Next, we are celebrating our golden jubilee as the oldest Indian dance-based organisation in Africa; and finally, it is fitting that we are doing this in Bollywood’s 100th year celebration.”

She adds: “A special performance blend of South Indian, North Indian and Bollywood will pay tribute to Indian heritage, with a dose of Africa.”

Anavarata Dance Institute is a 50-year-old member of Unesco’s Council of International Dance. The pioneers of this organisation were the first two South African Indian women – Rani Nydoo and her sister, Prema – to bring the classical form of Indian dance, Bharata Natyam, to Africa.

Their dance skills, and being South Africans studying in India, were lauded by millions and as their popularity grew, the Indian prime minister at the time, Jawaharlal Nehru, asked for an official audience with them at his presidential home. Nehru became the first prime minister of independent India, in 1947.

The multi-cultural organisation provides skilled dance training to students across the country, and at no charge. Its dance students have been able to empower themselves through the art of dance and have had performance opportunities around the world. The troupe is confirmed for major international productions in South Africa and internationally for 2012 and 2013.

Also performing at the SA Tattoo this year will be top international performers such as the Talentholdet Gym Team from Denmark and the O’Shea Ryan Irish Dancers from Australia, who will perform alongside local talent.

Audiences can expect to see the Amazing Skipping Routine, the bands of the SA Air Force and SA Medical Health Service, a massed choir from the Afrikaanse Hoër Meisies and Seunskool, acclaimed soloists Siyasanga Papu, and Vaughan Gardiner.

Other acts will include the Massed Pipes and Drums and the Highland Dancers. A giant South African flag will also flutter, the country’s biggest symbol of patriotism and pride. The SA Tattoo will be hosted in partnership with Jacaranda 94.2FM and M-Net.

Tickets range in price from R218 to R398, and they are available at Computicket.

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