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Sreelakshmy Govardhanan will perform Kuchipudi in Delhi.
Sreelakshmy Govardhanan will perform Kuchipudi in Delhi.

When the world dances together

Indian and foreign troupes will be celebrating World Dance Day in every big city this weekend

Dance is an expression of an artist’s ideas. Whether these are through forms such as Kathak or Bharatanatyam, or salsa and ballet, the expressions and emotions in dance cannot be limited by geographical boundaries. This is the belief that is celebrated by the dance committee of the International Theatre Institute, the main partner for the performing arts section of Unesco, on 29 April—World Dance Day.

“Our (NCPA) Mudra Dance festival was limited to classical Indian dance. We wanted an inclusive dance festival to mark World Dance Day. After all, it is about bringing together different dance forms," says Swapnokalpa Dasgupta, head of programming (dance) at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai. Dasgupta’s team has been organizing “World Dance Day"—a multi-disciplinary dance finale.

Dance troupes representing every style, from flamenco (by Shehzeen Cassum) to Odissi (by Jhelum Paranjape’s Smitalay), jazz (by BOM Squad) to contemporary (by Santosh Nair’s Sadhya), will come together for the grand finale, to weave a story of dance transcending boundaries.

Stories are an integral part of dance, as Bengaluru-based Bharatanatyam dancer Kavya Kasinathan will agree. Kasinathan will be performing in Bengaluru on Sunday for “Shrishti’s World Dance Day" event.

“Through my dance, Ganesh Vandana, I will tell the story of how Ganesha got the gyana-pazham (or fruit of knowledge) from his parents, while in the Shiva Stuti I will describe the attributes of Lord Shiva. Shiva being the god of dance, this was an apt tribute for World Dance Day," says Kasinathan.

Meanwhile, the character of Karn from the epic Mahabharat forms the base of Madurai R. Muralidaran’s 21st production Karna.

Shehzeen Cassum will perform flamenco in Mumbai. Photo: Narendra Dangiya
Shehzeen Cassum will perform flamenco in Mumbai. Photo: Narendra Dangiya

With over 50 artists performing in this Broadway-musical-styled production, the show will use different dance styles—including Bharatanatyam, Odissi, folk dances, like dandiya, karakattam, kavadiyattam, etc. After its India premiere in Chennai for World Dance Day, it will travel to the US and Australia.

“While the dance drama revolves around Karn and his story is well known, there are aspects of his life that are not as popular. I have researched these stories for the past one year. For example, after Draupadi’s vastraharan (disrobing), Karn asked for forgiveness from his wife Urvi. However, Urvi, feeling ashamed, left him," says Muralidaran.

Delhi-based dancer Geeta Chandran believes “the process is as important as the end product". Chandran is the curator for Natya Vriksha’s Young Dancers Festival, which will be held in Delhi this weekend, and will include not just performances, but also workshops and talks on aspects of dance and allied arts, such as a Theatre Movement workshop by thespian Anuradha Kapur and a talk on the devadasi culture by V.R. Devika from The Aseema Trust.

The performances will include Kathak by Vidyagauri, Kuchipudi by Sreelakshmy Govardhanan, Bharatanatyam by Shweta Prachande and Odissi by Monami Nandy.

So whether you’re looking for stories, or want to gain knowledge about the different aspects of dance, this weekend has something for everyone.

Events in your city

Delhi: The Young Dancers Festival, India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg on 28-29 April, from 10am. Seating on first-come, first-served basis.

Mumbai: World Dance Day, Tata Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Nariman Point, Marine Drive on 27April, 6.30pm. Tickets, Rs200, Rs300 and Rs500, available at the venue and on In.bookmyshow.com

Bengaluru: The Shrishti World Dance Day, Kannda Bhavana, JC Road, Sampangi Rama Nagar on 29 April, 6pm. Seating on first-come, first-served basis.

Chennai: ‘Karna’, Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Harrington Road, Chetpet, on 28 April, 2.30pm and 6.30pm. Tickets, Rs295, Rs590, Rs1,1,80 and Rs2,360, available on In.bookmyshow.com.

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