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Lifestyle

April 4, 2013

Bringing India to Salem

Museum festival features art, dance, music, activities for children

SALEM — The Peabody Essex Museum has hosted “Sensational India,” a festival celebrating Indian arts and culture, every April since 2009.

The weekend’s worth of performances, presentations and parties celebrate the museum’s historic connection to India, which dates to 1799.

But this year, the festival will also draw inspiration from its current exhibit of modern Indian art, “Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India after Independence.”

“It’s a really energetic show that traces the development of three generations of artists,” said Michelle Moon, assistant director for adult programs at PEM. “What we wanted to do was creative programming that reflected the dynamic interaction between the contemporary and the traditions that those artists are working with.”

The festival will likewise feature figures influenced both by Indian tradition and the larger, contemporary world.

These include DJ Yogz and DJ D-Xtreme of the Boston Sound and Light Co., who will lead the Bollywood Dance Party on Saturday night, mixing contemporary Bollywood and bhangra music with Western dance music.

“We’ve asked them to help us change it up this year. It’s a new DJ for us for this particular event,” said Jennifer Close, senior marketing specialist at the museum. “It’s not something I’m going to turn on the radio and find.”

When they arrive for the party, visitors to the museum may feel like they’ve wandered into a disco in Mumbai.

“We change the whole feel of the museum,” Close said. “We decorate the atrium. A lighting company comes in, we have a decor company coming in. There will be a sitting area with Indian furniture and some backdrops.”

Over the years, this party has evolved into an important highlight of the festival.

“People dress to the nines,” Moon said. “It’s a fabulous evening with high energy.”

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