A star-studded dance fest

With a line-up of performers such as Alarmel Valli, Kumudini Lakhia, Raja Reddy and others, the Nakshatra Dance Festival promises to be a treat for dance aficianados. The fourth edition of the dance festival will feature talented classical dancers showcasing choreographies in styles ranging from Kathakali to Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak.

Atah Kim by Kumudini Lakhia

While Alarmel Valli’s Bharatanatyam performance, titled Scent of the Earth, is a celebration of nature, Atah Kim by Kumudini Lakhia presents the different aspects of classical Kathak and Raja Reddy’s Kuchipudi performance portrays the masculine and feminine styles of dance through Tandava and Lasya (the forms depicted by Shiva and Parvati).

Explains Raja Reddy, “It is believed that Kuchipudi was created by Lord Brahma with the help of Shiva and Parvati. Radha (his wife) and I are going to present the Tandava and Lasya, the masculine and feminine form in all living creatures. We portray the masculine vigour and lyrical charm of the pairs of Hindu mythology.”

Bharatanatyam dancer Alarmel Valli

Alarmel Valli describes her performance as a celebration of the margam (traditional repertoire). “It is a celebration of nature in its many moods and guises. The reason I have selected the margam is that it has immense potential for diverse interpretations of music. The performance captures how nature responds to Lord Krishna’s flute,” says Valli, adding that for this choreography she has worked closely with the singer. “It is the coming together of music and dance,” she adds.

The other performers at the festival include Madhavi Mudgal, Mandakini Trivedi, Kalamandalam Piyal and younger performers like Shyamjith Kiran, Viraja Mhandre and Anuj Mishra, who will perform as part of Nakshatra’s rising stars.┬áMandakini Trivedi’s performance is an experiment to bring together two forms from Kerala ­— Mohiniattama and Kathakali — to depict the popular tale of Bhasmasura Mohini.

“Kalamandalam Piyal will perform Kathakali and I will perform in the Mohiniattam style. The dance highlights the characters of Bhasmasura and Mohini by giving them a visual interpretation. Bhasmasura is a demon and Kathakali abounds in such characters. Its dramatic abhinaya is ideal for the character while the soft sensuousness of the enchantress is encased in the swaying and circling movements of Mohiniattam,” explains Trivedi.

In addition to these performances, there will be a workshop series on all the seven classical dance forms, titled Joy of Movement. Conducted by stalwarts in the field, each workshop will last an hour and a half and will introduce participants to the dance form.

Pooja Pant, who will be conducting the Kathak workshop, says, “I will be teaching some basic movements. I will also delve into the different aspects of Kathak, which will help appreciate a performance better.”

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