A classical idea

Updated: Feb 08, 2018, 09:56 IST | Sneha Kanchan

Keli Classical Dance Festival, a fest now in its 26th year hopes to sustain interest in traditional Indian dance forms

Sreelakshmi Govardhana
Sreelakshmi Govardhana

We live in an age where western dance forms along with Bollywood have more takers than classical Indian dance. Add to this, newer influences via the digital world, and it leaves traditional art forms way behind when it comes to popularity and impact. In times like these, the Keli Classical Dance Festival has taken upon itself to revive art forms indigenous to Kerala and southern India. Spread over three days, the festival, in its 26th year, will be dedicating each of the three days to three different dance forms – Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam respectively.

Malavika Sarukkai
Malavika Sarukkai 

The intent behind such a festival was to keep the classical art forms alive through an event that celebrates traditional theatre accompanied by live classical music, says Ramachandran Keli, who has been organising the festival for over two decades now. "Born in Peruvanam, a village in Kerala, I grew up learning about the glorious history of classical art forms in the region that dates back thousands of years. I had this innate urge to bring the same to the fore and expose the ones living in Mumbai to Kerala's heritage," he adds.

The three-day festival is set to kick-off with a Bharatanatyam dance performance by Padmashri Malavika Sarukkai and group on day one succeeded by a Kuchipudi performance by Sreelakshmi Govardhana and group on day two while a Mohiniyattam performance by Jayaprabha Menon and group will bring the festival to a close on day three.

Menon, an accomplished classical dancer, is happy to perform at the festival, "The vibe that a live performance accompanied by musicians creates is unlike anything else you will witness. The energy between the dancer and musicians takes the performance to a whole new level and that spectacle cannot be matched to watching the same on your phone or laptop screen."

Last year, the festival paid ode to the cultural history of Peruvanam, focusing on art forms unique to the village. It saw the likes of Ustad Zakir Hussain graceing the event. The guests of honour this year include celebrated names like Kumar Shahani, Sadanand Menon, Anand Neelakandan, Surendrababu, and Hussain again.

On: February 9, 10 and 11
At: Multiple venues.
Call: 9820835737
Log on to: insider.in

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