Contemporary takes centre stage at the Prayanta Film and Dance Festival

The Prayanta Film and Dance Festival, an annual Contemporary dance event, will see dance performances and film screenings over five days, starting today

Over the next few days, Pune will play host to dancers as well as screen films on dancing. The Prayatna Film and Dance Festival 2014, an annual event celebrating Contemporary dance in India is back with its sixth edition, starting today.

The Prayanta Film and Dance Festival looks at how Contemporary dancers are finding ways to revive Indian Classical and Folk dances

The festival is organised every year to look into ongoing practices of Contemporary dances in India, and offers fresh perspectives in preserving dying dance forms. According to festival director, Hrishikesh Pawar, the festival has come a long way since its first edition, which was held six years ago on the terrace of Max Mueller Bhavan. “Now we are running it for five days at various venues,” he says, adding, “Our aim is to bridge the gap between arts and our culture. And like every year, this year too we are bringing together acclaimed artistes from various corners of India.”

Pawar adds that the artistes performing in the festival have performed in India as well as abroad, and practice various Folk, Contemporary and Classical dance forms, including Kathak and Bharatanatyam. He stresses that the festival is a great opportunity for people to watch and understand Contemporary dance. “There are dancers who have a background in Classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam and perform Contemporary. This becomes an interesting watch as Contemporary has a wide, self-made periodic definition. For example, if a Bharatanatyam dancer performs his moves with different attires like leotards or gowns; it can be connected with Contemporary dancing,” he adds. And unlike what Pop Culture theorists may suggest, Pawar believes that Indian Folk and Classical dances are here to stay.

“There are legends like Chandralekha, Uday Shankar and Zohra Sehgal whose works have inspired people to take it forward in the form of dancing schools and institutions. Unfortunately, kids are entering dance schools to be able to perform but not for training. The reality shows have re-defined entertainment. But people need to understand that they can’t take history for granted. One needs to maintain the authenticity of any dance form. All dance form deserves respect,” he adds.

And things, he believes, are already changing. “Parents, today, are more supportive of their children taking up dancing. And if one is focussed and has in-depth knowledge about what he/she is doing; they can definitely fight against all odds and make a living out of something like dancing. Getting a good teacher and basic knowledge about your work are the two prime things to start with in this field,” adds Pawar.

The festival will also have an evening dedicated to non-commercial films and documentaries on Contemporary dance forms. It will include many national and international films on dancers like Alvin Ailey, Mary Wigman, Harald Kreutzberg and Gret Palucca.

Festival Schedule
April 25, 7 pm AT Garware College, Karve Road.
April 26, 7 pm AT Film and Television Institute of India, Law College Road.
April 27, 6 pm At Film and Television Institute of India, Law College Road.
April 28, 7 pm

At Mazda Hall, Camp.
April 29, 7 pm AT Kalachhaya Cultural Centre, Senapati Bapat Road.

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