This April, dance enthusiasts can rejoice. The National Centre for Performing Arts’ (NCPA) fourth Mudra Dance Festival, is a month-long affair.
“The focus is on giving audiences a chance to see different facets of dance,” says Amrita Lahiri, head of dance programming, NCPA.
The festival, whose preparations began six months in advance, will see Kathak, Kathakali, Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Chhau performances. Artistes have been roped in from all over India, including New Delhi, Orissa, Chennai, Kerala.
The most challenging feat for Lahiri was choosing the performances. “Like designing a piece of jewellery, the challenge is that the gems are of different colours and sizes, and one wants to include everything!
However, not every piece goes with the others. There are so many wonderful dancers and productions in India that it is difficult to choose,” says Lahiri, who was also conscious about the fact that she was putting together a dance festival for a varied audience.
“There are connoisseurs who know every dance form. For them, each programme will be a treat, because we have the finest dancers performing at the
festival,” she explains.
However, it is the audiences who get intimidated by classical dance that she is concerned about, as they fear that they may not ‘understand’. “This is the section we want to cater to,” says Lahiri.
Interestingly, first-time dance audiences will find it easy to relate to these programmes. For instance, the festival has a lecture demonstration on Kathakali, which will be a learning experience for those who are keen to learn the dance form.
“Mudra Dance Festival has something for everyone — both connoisseurs and the uninitiated It is, simply, a celebration of dance,” Lahiri signs off.
At: NCPA, Nariman Point,
April 9 to April 29
Kathak by Pandit Birju Maharaaj
Pandit Birju Maharaaj will inaugurate the festival with his performance that will focus on abhinaya.
April 26, 7 pm
Chhau by Shashadhar Acharya
Shashadhar Acharya will perform Ratri and Kamsa Vadh. Seraikella Chhau has evolved from martial art techniques that were earlier practised by soldiers in the royal army.
April 28, 6 pm
Dance photography workshop
If you’re a photographer, and want to understand how to capture movements and expressions, Mukesh Parpiani, head, Piramal Gallery, will show you how. The workshop will be conducted by PKM Pillai (see pic).
April 9, 10 am to 6 pm