Moon Water, Quantum Bhangra spectacular elements of cultural Olympiad

Harbahan Mann and the Quantum Bhangra performance at the Queen Elizabeth promise a hot Punjabi ending to a Cultural Olympiad that began with the cool Taiwan dance classic Moon

Harbhajan Mann and the Quantum Bhangra Feb. 27 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre promises a hot Punjabi ending to a Cultural Olympiad that began with the cool Taiwan dance classic Moon Water.

While not the first event of the Cultural Olympiad, Moon Water by Taiwan’s Cloud Garden dance company Feb. 5 was an extraordinary evening, not least because of the quiet pool of water that literally flooded the stage as the hypnotic performance unfolded.

Cultural Olympiad director Robert Kerr said the near sellout crowd at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre made it perhaps the largest-ever single audience for modern dance in the city.

If so, it is a tribute to the Taiwanese company and its community supporters, but also a sign of the transformation the cultural program may be working on Vancouver audiences.

For a few weeks, Vancouver will host a series of world-class events normally available only global cultural capitals.

An example, in complete contrast to the cool yet intense Moon Water, is Quantum Bhangra with Harbhajan Mann, an evening of the world’s top bhangra performers on one stage, that will close out the Games program. It is as big a gift to the city from India as Cloud Gate was from Taiwan. At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.