Dancing to an ancient rhythm, more than 1,000 Tamil-Canadians will form a giant Canadian flag on a soccer field in Agincourt this month.
It’s their way of saying thanks to the country which took them and their parents in.
Groups of dancers performing the Bharatha Mile at 4 p.m. on June 24 at the L’Amoreaux Sports Complex haven’t met before but have practised their routines for months.
The huge effort shows Canada’s Tamil community — many of whom arrived as refugees — is eager to continue its culture, says organizer Nirothini Pararajasingam, a Scarborough dance teacher and director of the Canadian Tamils Arts and Culture Organization.
“I called 50 dance teachers,” said Pararajasingam. “I said, ‘Let’s go for 1,000 dancers, and we’ll make history.’”
Around 1,100 performers are expected at the event, plus a choir of 150, with participants contributing to buy dialysis machines for the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital.
Their style is Bharathanatiyam, a classical dance form from South India and Sri Lanka, but one composition will have English lyrics and was written to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
“The fact that Canada opened their arms and welcomed us to their home is really big for us,” said Pararajasingam’s daughter, Swetha, 18, who’s helping train her mother’s students for the performance.
Of 1,100 dancers from small children to adults over 40, only a handful are expected to be male, she said, “but in 2017, a lot of things are changing.”
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