Belfast Mela: Dancing girls gear up for star turn at festival
Belfast is renowned for Irish dancing, but a little known academy in the city centre is bringing the intricate moves of south Asia to our shores.
Doma Das Gupta (17) and Daliya Khadir (21) are just two members of the South Asian Dance Academy (SADA), which trains and performs all-year round. The highlight of the year is their performance every summer at Botanic Gardens as part of Belfast Mela.
The Belfast Telegraph is media partners with Mela and will be printing stories from behind the scenes at the city's biggest ethnic arts festival every day on the countdown to Sunday.
Doma and Daliya were both born in Saudi Arabia but have lived in Belfast from a young age. Dancing is an important form of cultural expression for Doma, who is a student at Methodist College, and Daliya, who is undertaking a degree in software engineering.
Doma said many of her friends were amazed when she posted pictures on her Facebook dressed up and performing at events.
"It's nice to be able to to share my culture in this way with my friends," she said.
"My Facebook pictures of me dancing always get lots of comments. It's a serious hobby, I have been dancing since I was four."
Another SADA performer, Chelsea, is a former Irish dancer and those skills helped her master some very different moves.
SADA has seven members and the group is keen to recruit new dancers, particularly any with previous experience.
Any potential dancers should send a video clip to Arts Ekta at firstname.lastname@example.org
Belfast Mela, billed as a festival of world cultures, is being hosted at Botanic Gardens from noon-6pm this Sunday.
For more information, log on to 2014.belfastmela.org.uk