Dancers weave tales of animals and birds into their moves for the Mudra Dance Festival
Probal Gupta, one of the dancers at the Mudra Dance Festival, insists we listen to the full story. "Very few know it," says the Kathakali dancer, who will perform Manasa Charitam — the tale of the snake goddess Manasa at the festival, which will be held at the NCPA from April 21 to 24.
"Monosha Mangal is a Bengali tale about snake goddess Devi Manasha, the daughter of Shiva. In heaven, she spoils the tala of Chandra, who is Shiva's devotee. For this, he must be sent to narlok. Shiva understood it was Manasa's doing and blessed Chandra that no one would worship Manasa until Chandra did. My piece begins in narlok, when Chandra, now known as chand saudagar in Champaknagari, has lost everything and is a poor beggar," narrates Gupta.
Our second call is to Kuchipudi Bhavana Reddy. And another story begins. This time about a golden swan, Hamsoham. "Lord Shiva takes this form in a bid to unite Nala and Damyanti, the perfect couple," says Bhavana.
Her father choreographer, Raja Reddy, adds, "In this piece, Nala captures the golden swan and the dancer has to emote the pain." Soak in an Odissi performance by Rahul Acharya and a workshop on exploring animal movements in Mayurbhanj chhau by Santosh Nair, among others.
What: Mudra Dance Festival
When: April 21-24
Where: NCPA, Nariman Point
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