A dancer’s calendar
The Panchatantra story Ekta Hi Bal Hai opens with birds in a garden pecking on grains, spied upon by hunters who plan to trap them and sell their meat. The hunters cast a net on them, but the birds are able to fly away after their mice friends shred the net.
The story, based on the theme of unity, is one of the compositions to be performed at Lokgatha, part of the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ (NCPA) Mumbai Dance Season, which started Thursday and will go on till 4 February. The composition will be presented in the style of Mayurbhanj chhau, a martial dance form that employs animal and bird movements and is practiced by tribals in Odisha.
Kathak dancer Shama Bhate, who has conceptualized Lokgatha, has brought 20 chhau dancers from Bhubaneswar, and incorporated the sensibilities of kathak in the performance.
“There is a lot of abandon in chhau,” says Bhate. “My Kathak sensibilities have synced in the way we use rhythm, facial expressions, mudras and the choreographic space.”
Lokgatha is only one among the several dance performances and lectures that form part of the first Mumbai Dance Season. Nritya Basanta , to be held at the NCPA’s Sunken Garden, is an ode to the season.
The Mumbai Dance Season, conceptualized by Swapnokalpa Dasgupta, the head of dance programming at the NCPA, aims to create a calendar to consolidate and coalesce the disparate dance events spread across the city under one rubric.
“We often see that performances clash, so the audience gets divided, so I thought why don’t we collaborate and create a platform where the entire dance community of Mumbai comes together,” says Dasgupta
The inaugural performance will showcase all the forms of Indian classical dance and the festival will also see performances of rare folk dance forms like tera tali (Rajasthan) and dongri (Jammu and Kashmir). “We are showing folk dances that require a lot of rigour,” says Dasgupta. “Rigour of practice, or abhyas is only associated with Indian classical and many people think that a folk dance can be done by anyone, which is not true.”
The performances will be interspersed with lectures, workshops and research paper readings.
For venues, dates and ticket prices, visit Ncpamumbai.com and Bookmyshow.com.