The 9th anniversary 2012 Vancouver Celebrates Diwali festival is proud to bring an exciting and multicultural array of artists for our growing audience. Over the course of 5 events at locations across the city, we’ll be presenting several dozens of musicians and dancers, plus a dazzling list of interactive workshops, exhibitions and opportunities for young and old.

Alongside our slogan “Light Your Spirit”, this year’s theme is ILLUMINATION. We’re looking to “illuminate” our audiences about the true meaning and spirit of Diwali, and we’re also looking to shine a light on diversity artistic performances. So this year we’ll be showcasing several  Diwali Fusion Duos at our main event Diwali Downtown. For more info, see our list of events and artists below.




Saturday, November 10

3:00pm – 8:00pm

Roundhouse Community Centre

181 Roundhouse Mews

Near the Roundhouse Skytrain

Admission by donation (suggested $5)



*Programs will be available at Diwali Downtown with the performance schedule for the day*

Chania Chokries

The Chaniya Chokries are Vancouver’s newest garba team. They come to you straight from a national dance competition where they placed first in their category.

Merlyn Prakash

Born in Fiji, Merlyn has been dancing for the past nineteen years, and started when she was five years old. Her diversity in learning multiple dance forms has given Merlyn a unique style of Bollywood Dancing. Merlyn was acknowledged by the India-based dance show Boogie Woogie, and was offered a judge position for the Vancouver auditions with the finals held in Toronto.


PANJ Girls Bhangra

One of Vancouver’s most exciting all-girls bhangra teams.

Sangeeta Maruti Arts

A vocal + percussion ensemble featuring a fusion blend of African and Carnatic rhythms. Led by Vidyasagar Vankayala and Curtis Andrews.


Amika Kushwaha & Cassius Khan  – DIWALI FUSION DUO

Amika Kushwaha is a celebrated Kathak dancer. Cassius Khan is a well-known tabla player & vocalist. This husband and wife team are one of the few duos who perform these two traditional Indian performance forms. The performance showcases the spontaneity between Amika’s Kathak dance and Cassius Khan’s TablA. Amika’s speciality is her uncanny intuition on stage. Cassius Khan is an internationally renowned master performer of Ghazal and Tabla.




















LAPIS is the creation of MOHAMED ASSANI and RUP SIDHU. They met while playing a Dhiwali festival – Rup with his bhangra, dancehall & hip hop act, Banyen Roots; and Mohamed performing Indian Classical music on the Sitar. They each thought, “Hmmmm……What’s he doing over there? It sounds interesting.” Their paths crossed again a few months later when they collaborated on a sound track for the National Film Board and thus began their creative adventure. Their mutual love of live music and improvisation forms the basis for their music. They are based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.



Kathak & Flamenco Combo  – DIWALI FUSION DUO

Kathak dance has often been fused with other forms. In 2011 we paired Kathak dancer Anita Sharma with Celtic dancer Fred Nguyen. In 2009 we paired a Kathak dancer with a Flamenco dancer. This year we’re proud to have put together Kathak dancers Anita Sharma and Seema Manji with Flamenco guitarist Rod Malkin for a very passionate and spontaneous example of cultural fusion in its rawest form.



Juno-nominated DJ A-SLAM is one of Canada’s top Electronic and Top 40 DJs. A-SLAM skillfully mixes world influences into his mixes and has recently began performing with violinist-extremist Kytami.  A trailblazer in her field, Kytami’s compositions combine elements of classical and fiddle styles as well as epic soaring lines with heavy bass, elements of hip hop and electronic beats.  Kytami has played at most major festivals across Canada and the U.S. In 2012, A-SLAM and Kytami debuted their mix of electronic, Indian and celtic rhythms  at the Surrey Fusion Festival.


Vancity Bhangra

Not to be outdone, this all-men dance team is a highly energetic group of individuals who love to showcase their passion for Bhangra.


Shiamak’s Bollywood Dance Team  

Vancouver’s best known Bollywood sensation is back with a stage full of some of the hottest dancers in Vancouver. This year Shiamak is riding the Fusion wave with some new Dandiya elements in a show-stopping performance.



Brought together by Sal Ferreras, this ensemble has been performing together at festivals and corporate events for the past few years. During the Olympics they were honoured with the opportunity to perform in the Team Welcome Ceremonies held for each nation that arrived to the Olympic village. Imagine the percussive sounds of India, Africa, Brazil, Cuba, and the First Nations people of Canada all coming together as one! Weather permitting, this big finale will take place on the Roundhouse’s new Outdoor Pavilion with a candle-lit diya procession! A great way to end our 2012 festival.




Sudnya Mulye Dance Academy – Bharatanatyam dance










Dancer Sumitra Quiring has been dancing with Sudnya Dance Academy for more than 10 years.  She has performed at various cultural events around the Lower Mainland including Kala Utsav, Burnaby Rhododendron Festival, Sri Thyagaraja festival, Asian Heritage Month, and many more.  She has been part of the academy productions “Soul of Dance” and “Buddham Saranam Gacchami”. Recently in August 2012 she performed her Arangetram. She is currently attending UBC and continues to pursue her training in Bharata Natyam for deeper and advanced understanding.


Aly Sunderji – classical vocalist with musical accompaniment and his own Garba dance team











A Sufi poet, singer, and songwriter. Aly Sunderji is currently training in the Mewati Gharana, a genre of classical Hindustani singing. Aly has performed in the Canadian production of Conference of the Birds directed by Hafiz Karmali. Some of Aly’s greatest accomplishments include the production his CD “An ode to Shāh Karim”.


Aarti Gandhi – fusion dance performer  













For Aarti Gandhi, dance is a reflection of who she is and where she comes from. Born in the United Kingdom, but raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Aarti began to study Bharatnatyam dance at the early age of 7. She eventually joined the London-based Nikita Dance Company in 2007, practicing a unique form of classical Kathak and modern Bollywood dance. In January 2011, Aarti moved to Vancouver, and has performed in countless community events in the Lower Mainland and Victoria. When asked what dancing means to her, Aarti says “I get up, I walk, I fall down. Meanwhile I keep on dancing.”


Shiamak’s Bollywood Dance Workshop  (Approximately 5:30 pm)









Vij’s Railway Express – Yes, that Vij’s!

Flavors of Fiji – Come and enjoy the Diwali-inspired flavors of this little island nation.

Spice It Up – Classical Indian fare done just the way you like it: spicy!



Peggie Amer

Amrit Fashions

Jhilmil Fashions

Alicia’s World Gifts

Diwali Greeting Cards

Plus diya painting, henna and a room-sized rangoli built by the audience! 



These popular community workshops are seen as the backbone of this festival. With interactive activities and performances for the whole family, including diya painting, sari wrapping, mehndi hand tattoos, Bollywood dancing, and more.

Saturday, November 3

1:00pm – 3:00pm

Renfrew Park Community Centre

2929 East 22nd Avenue


Monday, November 5

1:00pm – 2:30pm

South Vancouver Neighborhood House

6470 Victoria Drive


Tuesday, November 6

5:00pm – 7:00pm

Sunset Community Centre

6810 Main Street


Wednesday, November 7

4:30pm – 6:30pm

West End Community Centre

870 Denman Street



Follow us on Twitter @VanDiwali to catch all of the action at Diwali Downtown


Vancouver Celebrates Diwali is grateful to our generous sponsors:
Government Sponsors
  • City of Vancouver
  • Citizenship & Immigration Canada
  • BC Arts Council
  • Canadian Heritage
Media Sponsors
  • Shaw
  • Shaw Multicultural Channel
  • Global BC
  • 24 Hours Vancouver
  • CKNW
  • RJ1200
  • South Asian Woman Magazine
  • Roundhouse Community Centre
  • South Vancouver Neighborhood House
  • Cineplex