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Controversial ballet La Bayadere pulled from The Brook Theatre in Chatham by Bluebell School of Dance and Performing Arts

A controversial ballet which has sparked headlines across the world for trivialising the Hindu religion and traditions has been pulled from a council-run venue.

The performance was due to be staged at The Brook Theatre in Chatham by a Medway performing arts group over three days in March next year.

The Brook Theatre, Chatham
The Brook Theatre, Chatham

But after an international statesman for the religious community branded the adaptation of La Bayadere as "offensive" and "degrading" and accused the authority of acting irresponsibly, the event has now been cancelled.

Paul Cowell, Medway Council’s head of culture and libraries, said: “After looking into the matter the local community organisation, which was hiring the theatre for the performance, has decided that they will not be continuing with their production of La Bayadère.

"The ethos of Medway Council’s theatres is to promote inclusion and diversity at all times. In future we will endeavour to ensure that all performances taking place in our theatres reflect these values, including any third-party bookings”

Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, has branded the adaptation as caricaturing Eastern heritage and "ridiculing entire communities".

The ballet, also known as The Temple Dancer or The Temple Maiden, staged by professional companies has sparked controversy across the world.

It was to be performed by the Walderslade-based Bluebell School of Dance and Performing Arts on March 25, 26 and 27 with tickets costing up to £13.

Rajan Zed Photo: Twitter@rajanzed (53072117)
Rajan Zed Photo: Twitter@rajanzed (53072117)

La Bayadere was first presented in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1877 and has toured major international opera and ballet venues.

The Bluebell School of Dance was founded in 1977 by Suzanne Burnham-Jones who was trained by Russian ballerina Lydia Kyasht.

It has four venues in the Chatham area and about 180 pupils specialising in Russian ballet but also teaching tap, modern, contemporary and street. It also has a theatre school coaching singing, dancing and acting.

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