Sharjah: The heavy sounds of drums and musical instruments echoed off the walls of Heart of Sharjah as dancers stomped their feet, clapped and swung around in circles, flashing colours with music and melody in the background.
This year, Sharjah Heritage Days marked ‘World Heritage Day’ on Wednesday to recognise and celebrate the cultures of the world through song and dance. Bringing together a diverse set of performers — from Paraguay, Croatia, Argentina, Bosnia, the Czech Republic and many other countries of the world — the International World Heritage Day offered visitors an experience of the vibrant cultures, music and traditional sporting prowess of the communities around the world. The performances started in the evening and lasted late into the night keeping the crowd shouting, cheering and asking for more.
“Dance is a universal language. It connects people not only within the country, but across borders. Our dance and song performances are from the Renaissance period, dating back to the 16th century, which express laughter, positivity and hope. Influenced by the Italian culture, these dances celebrate our origins and bridge gaps between the young and old,” said Katerina Klementova, dancer and choreographer from Czech Republic.
Featuring more than 25 forms of dances from the Czech Republic, Paraguay, Argentina and Bosnia, the World Heritage Day witnessed participation of more than 100 dancers aged between 17 and 70 years.
“Art and culture know no boundaries and have the ability to transcend differences and unite nations and people. The objective of celebrating World Heritage Day is to foster relations with countries of the world through music and dance which has the ability to not just bring together nations with mutual interest, but also helps build relations and promote culture,” said Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and chairman of the Higher Committee of Sharjah Heritage Days.
Each of the traditional dance and music performances showcased the heritage of the country concerned, people of various racial and ethnic groups and their cultural values. The World Heritage Day also presented young talents and choreographers from countries in the Middle East and showcased the rich cultural heritage geared towards fostering inter-community peace and unity.
The Sharjah Heritage Days feature a plethora of ancient artefacts, galleries, exhibitions, historical sites and cultures of people from 31 countries. The event is an opportunity for visitors to experience diverse segments of the society as it showcases tangible and intangible heritage items of the emirate and beyond.