Terence Lewis has been invited as the special guest to inaugurate the diya-lighting ceremony at Times Square, New York this year. The ace choreographer says he hopes to spread "a little bit of love and happiness" in times of "so much hatred, violence and intolerance".
Times Square lights up on only two occasions in a year -- on Diwali and December 31 (New Year's Eve).
The ceremony will take place on Saturday, and will also witness a special performance by Lewis on a Bollywood number.
"I am very proud to represent my country at this amazing platform, at Diwali at Times Square event. Very importantly, for me to be able to connect with all the people of dance especially in a time where there is so much hatred, there's so much of violence, there's so much of intolerance, I think an event like this helps us to connect, helps us to see the beauty of each other and spread a little bit of love and happiness," Lewis said in a statement.
"Diwali is also significant from the point of view that from the Hindu perspective, it is the returning of a great king who conquers evil through his good actions. I just hope that we are enough to conquer all the evil, not just in other people, but in our own hearts and move ahead with a little bit more faith in humanity, with a little bit more tolerance to each other and with a little bit more love," he added.
Putting light on his performance, the choreographer said: "It is a privilege and honour to be seen in such a space because I think it represents the culture of melting pot. New York represents the melting pot of all cultures... I am very excited also for my performance. It's going to be a beautiful performance getting into a contemporary style, combination of kathak and classical dance."