Kathak dancers from seven cities to compete at Pandit Birju Maharaj's contest

Updated: 20 December, 2017 09:32 IST | Soumya Vajpayee Tiwari | Mumbai

Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj scouts for talent through a pan-Indian contest-performance

"We want to bring some of the best dancers from across the country to the fore. This is a platform for them to showcase their talent and creativity," says Saswati Sen, secretary of Pandit Birju Maharaj's initiative, Kalasharam, ahead Kalasharam Kathak Contest, scheduled for tomorrow. Kathak dancers from seven cities - Kolkata, Mumbai, Guwahati, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Delhi and Ahmedabad - will compete on the final day to vie for the title. Sen says the greatest challenge for the performers will be to "keep tradition intact, but showcase an act that has a present-day context".

Keeping in step with the times

The contests, curated by Pandit Birju Maharaj, started in May in Kolkata. The Mumbai auditions were held in June, followed by other cities. The maestro also conducted workshops, where the contestants received training, guidance and advice from him before and after the auditions. "The dancers, who will perform at the grand finale, will be given the opportunity to join his workshops and classes anywhere in India for free," says Sen, adding that the Kathak exponent will not only judge the contest but also conduct sessions with the finalists to help them bring out their best in the evaluation round.

The veteran is excited about training young talent. "I won't present a full-fledged performance on stage. But I will showcase extempore demonstrations to motivate the contestants. I have also choreographed the opening and closing numbers," says Pandit Birju Maharaj, adding that he is excited to see how the finalists will fuse traditional Kathak with contemporary styles. "We want to showcase the multi-dimensional richness of Kathak through traditional and contemporary approaches. We want the audience to see how the art form has evolved," he says.

On : December 21, 7 pm onwards
At : Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
Call : 22824567
Log on to : bookmyshow.com
Entry : Rs.200 onwards

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First Published: 20 December, 2017 09:30 IST

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