Hold on tight. The 15th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival will kick off tonight (8th March) with a bold Bollywood bonanza of music and dance. The Merchants of Bollywood will be the first of a two-part show with the second part scheduled for 9th March. Both shows will be held at the Emirates Palace Auditorium at 8 pm.
This year's festival will be a year to remember as the festival celebrates 100 years since the birth of UAE's founding father.
The long-held connections and historical cultural exchange between India and the UAE will be celebrated, as India is held up as this year's Country of Honor.
Over the next month, festival guests can look forward to a diverse program of events and shows, featuring UAE stars, as well as performers from all over the world.
On 14th March at 8 pm Emirate composer, Ihab Darwish debuts his bold soaring work Waves of my Life. The composition blends classical music with contemporary influences and will be performed by the Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Stoyan Stoyanov.
Jazz lovers can look forward to a rousing show with the Palestinian performer Omar Kamal on 17th March at 8 pm. Omar's emotive performances Singing the Legends span decades and styles from Sinatra to Fairouz, the audience will be in for a treat.
We are the living will be held on 19th March at 8 pm. The captivating Indian dance performance by Tanusree Shankar dance academy will be a meditation on the Sufi poet Rumi's work – Human Being.
A two-part ballet performance of Don Quixote will be held on 29th and 30th March, drawing the festival to an end. Performed by the Spanish ballet company Compania Nacional De Danza they invite you to take a journey as they explore the classic tale of love, spirit, and passion.
Perhaps, the ultimate highlight of the month-long festival will be the two-day event at Um Al Emerat Park. On 21st and 22nd March, live music performances, workshops, and community events will be held, along with film screenings to showcase India's rich culture. We think even the most discerning of visitors will find something to satisfy.
The first day will focus on Indian performers and culture. If you ever fancied yourself as a bit of a Bollywood diva, the festival will be a chance to give the dance form a try at a workshop to be held by Gilles Chuyen.
The second day will turn to the Middle East as we see performances by pioneering multimedia artist Zahed Sultan and spirited marimba queen Nesma Abdel Aziz.
For those of you who are filmmakers by day or night, we recommend reserving your place on the Young Filmmakers Circle on 13th March at 6-8 pm. A film screening of three shorts will be followed by a panel discussion "The Importance of Short Films in the Arab World". The panel will be moderated by Hind Mezaina, along with participating panel members Amna Al Nowais and Greg Unaru. The event is free but you must RSVP to gain entry to the evening.
Artists still have time to enter their work into the Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Award, with 10,000 AED in prize money up for grabs. Submissions must be received by the 27th March. The award seeks to discover and nurture Emirate talent, and anyone from the Emirates aged between 18 and 35 years can enter. Video, film, animation, photography, painting, sculpture, and installation are all acceptable formats for the competition.
For more details visit the Abu Dhabi Festival website.