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'Minus dance, there is no Uma Dogra'

Says the Kathak exponent, who is all set to host the 22nd edition of the Pandit Durgalal festival, to be held today

Renowned Kathak exponent Uma Dogra is excited about hosting the 22nd edition of the Pandit Durgalal festival, which will showcase Kathak, Odissi and Bharatanatyam as well as Pandit Chitresh Das's expertise in Kathak on the same platform.

Why is the Pandit Durgalal Festival so important to you?
I started learning under Pandit Durgalal from when I was 13 years old. He is my guru and since the last 21 years, I have been conducting this festival in honour of him. Many great musicians and dancers have been part of the festival including Kelucharam Mohapatra, Pandit Jasraj, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and many more. And every five years, the festival travels to different cities as well.

What can the audience expect from this edition?
The first half consists of a performance called Gati Gayand, which will demonstrate the beauty and uniqueness of thee different dance forms Kathak, Odissi and Bharatanatyam. I will be performing with Vaibhav Arekar and Daksha Mashruwala. I did not want the festival to be just about Kathak. I wanted the audience to get something different. So, I decided to give them a feel of three different dances. The second half is a performance by Pandit Chitresh Das, who is a very senior Kathak exponent. He has even devised a unique form called Kathak Yoga, which he may demonstrate in his performance.

You took up dance at a very young age. How has the journey been? How has dance transformed your life?
I started learning Kathak since the age of six. I am 54 today and it has been a very intense and beautiful journey for me. Today, I can't imagine life without dance. Minus dance, there is no Uma Dogra. Dance has become my life. It is not just my passion or my profession; it is who I am. I have become one with dance.
 
On Today, 6.45 pm
At Nehru Centre, Worli.
Tickets Rs 100, Rs 250 and Rs 500 available at the venue and Rhythm House.
Call 9820711418

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