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I Learnt Indian Dances for the Philosophical Understanding of Their Spiritual Context: Eshani Lasya

Born in Portugal in 1980 as Eurica Luz, dancer and visual artist, Eshani Lasya is the Director of EKA [dance company] and co-founder of EKA [unity] a Lisbon based non-profit organisation that is setting trends in the Portuguese capital’s alternative arts and culture scene.

Eshani undertook extensive studies in painting, architecture, music and dance, which started with ballet and eventually branched out to Yoga, Meditation and the Indian Classical dance traditions - Bharatanatyam and Odissi. Her time spent in Portugal and London saw the birth of a unique amalgamation of these influences while working as a performer, choreographer and educator. Her background as a visual artist connects Indian Dance, Architecture, Mathematics and Physics, using new technologies to produce unseen artistic results.

Eshani as a child in Indian clothes borrowed from an Indian friend.

Eshani says her interest in Indian culture arose when she was a child. There is a large community of people of Indian origin - especially coming from Mozambique in the 70's and 80's - who established themselves in Lisbon and have families here. ”Although I was born and raised in Portugal, it was not uncommon for me to see Indian ladies in the streets of Lisbon wearing colourful sarees, bindis and nose rings. I found it all very appealing and started having a curiosity for the culture. Adding to that, my parents had some Indian friends who frequented our house, and one of my uncles went to live in India, and used to show pictures from there and talk about the wonderful things he had learnt in India. I don't know exactly how to explain this, but every time I saw something related to India, my heart just exploded with joy, and I felt transported into that place!”

There are hardly any parallels between Indian culture and present day Portuguese culture, says Eshani. “Actually I feel that I have started a research into Indian culture because I was lacking something fundamental in my own culture.”


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