Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Events with an identity - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

More than just a festival
Dance festivals are a dime a dozen. To make each event stand out with a flavour of its own requires imagination to curate. Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, in its very enterprising fashion has designed festivals wherein a theme or a selected line or verse from Sanskrit literature is made a compulsory part of each dancer’s recital, the interpretation being left to the individual dancer’s creativity. Bringing back to central focus the solo dancer who ultimately represents the core strength of a dance tradition, and featuring young dancers who are the future torch bearers, Prastaar, the Vidyalaya’s latest event mounted at the Kamani auditorium, prescribed as central motif and as bonding thread a verse for interpretation by all artists, from Subhashitavali 1049 (Shringarapadhdhati), compiled by Vallabhadeva in the 15th century, providing immense possibilities for abhinaya elaboration.


A fitting festival for Kelucharan Mohapatra
Yet another festival, which has begun acquiring a stature of its own is Srjan’s Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival, carefully nurtured over the years by the Guru’s son Ratikant Mohapatra. The mood is set, right from the entrance to Bhubaneswar’s Rabindra Mandap, where one sees the carefully grouped enlarged photographs of the participating artists outside -- with the modest lobby of the auditorium transformed into a photographic history down memory lane, with old priceless pictures of Guru Kelucharan on various occasions. One climbs the steps to be greeted by a large photograph of the Guru at whose feet exquisite rangoli floor design has a burning lamp in the centre. One could spend a long time just going through these pictures. 

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