- WASHINGTON, D.C., United States
Bollywood dance made its official White House debut when First Lady Michelle Obama danced to the tune of peppy Hindi tracks in the East Room along with Indian American children.Michelle, who led the Diwali celebrations at the White House for the first time, lit a diya amid chanting of Vedic mantras. In 2009, President Barack Obama attended the Diwali celebrations for the first time at the White House.
“This holiday is celebrated by members of some of the world’s oldest religions not just here in America but across the globe. Diwali is a time for celebration. As Barack and I learned during our visit to India, it’s a time to come together with friends and family, often with dancing and good food,” she said.
“Diwali is also a time for contemplation and reflection. It’s a time for us to think about our obligations to our fellow human beings, particularly those who are less fortunate than we are. And as we light the diya — the lamp — we recommit ourselves to the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil,” she added before lighting the diya.
Michelle was garlanded by Mythili Bachu, the chair for the Council of Hindu Temples of North America, amid applause from a select Indian American audience.
“We got to practice a little Bollywood this afternoon,” she told the audience at the East Room.
Giving some of the poses from the Bollywood dances she did earlier in the day, Michelle said she danced along with the kids who were seated in the front rows of the East Room.
“We had a wonderful time. It was the first time that we did Bollywood in the State Room here at the White House,” she said amid applause from the audience, which comprised the who’s who of the Indian American community and those in the Obama Administration.
Obama has the distinction of appointing the largest number of Indian Americans in any presidential administrations yet.
Wearing a glamorous skirt specially made for the occasion by India-born eminent designer Naeem Khan, Michelle gave a few poses from the dance number.
“Of course, as you all know, I think I can dance,” she said in an apparent reference to her dance in Mumbai three years ago when she celebrated Diwali.
“But not as good as they can dance,” she said, referring to the expert dance by members of the Gold Spot Band, the New York-based popular Indian American group.