Medley of Indian classical dances as ode to rivers


New Delhi : A medley of classical dance genres drawn from seven forms — Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and Kathakali — will capture here the essence of the Indian classical rhythm as an ode to seven Indian rivers Oct 1-5.

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Sannidhi will be performed at Ananya, the capital’s biggest open air classical dance festival, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

The composite choreography, the highlight of the festival, will be presented by Parwati Dutta, who will show off her mettle in the multiple classical styles, performing each one in succession.

“Obeisance to the sacred waters is a quintessential element of Indian culture. In this production, the seven sacred rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Godavari, Kaveri, Narmada and Sindhu – symbolically represent the seven Indian classical dances,” said Dutta, an accomplished Kathak and Odissi dancer.

“A tradition is often metaphorically co-related with a river that flows with time and nourishes mankind,” she said.

The festival will also bring cultural heritages together — the centuries-old living heritage, the Purana Qila or Old Fort, in the heart of the capital built in the 16th century — will serve as the backdrop of the classical carnival, the organisers said.

The open air classical dance festival, is presented by SEHER, a culture forum.

“The festival has grown bigger and better over the years; drawing new segments of audience who were earlier on the fringe of classical culture.

“We have been able to convert votaries of popular culture to classical fans,” festival director and founder of SEHER Sanjeev Bhargava told IANS.

Ten years ago, Bhargava remembers making arrangement for an audience of 600 at the Purana Qila. “Now the venue spills with people,” he said.

He said the festival has also resurrected the sprawling Old Fort, dating back to the era of Mahabharata, as a “living cultural hub” in the last decade.

“Earlier Ebrahim Alkazi’s plays were staged at the Purana Qila during the 1970s – after that there was a lull for nearly three decades before the fort was used again as a cultural exposition space,” Bhargava said, recalling the slow convergence of several cultural matrices in the capital.

Said Bhargava, a cultural activist: “In this age of television boom and growing TRPs of reality television – heritage and culture had to be repackaged with innovation and preserved among the future generations or else there is a danger that most of it would be declared intangible heritage shortly.”

On Day 1, the festival will begin with an Odissi rendition by Aruna Mohanty. She will present, “Gatha Odissi” – the journey of the genre from the temple of the stage. It will followed by an experimental Kuchipudi act by Vvjayanthi Kashi.

The performances will be accompanied by seven seminars.