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Join the rhythm of new steps, ancient classics

Tagore said that folk dance is like flowing water, and classical dance has the power of a waterfall. This power will be aptly represented in the classical dance performances during the festival,h says Bharata Natyam exponent Lata Surendra, curator of the dance segment of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

art and culture Updated: Jan 31, 2014 15:35 IST
Mugdha Variyar

Tagore said that folk dance is like flowing water, and classical dance has the power of a waterfall. This power will be aptly represented in the classical dance performances during the festival,h says Bharata Natyam exponent Lata Surendra, curator of the dance segment of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

One of the highlights of the festival, adds co-curator Sarita Vijayan, will be a revived presentation of classical dances, in keeping with the overarching theme of the festival this year. Momentum. 

The theme will be represented in the festival's dance segment, Gati [Hindi for Speed],says Vijayan.

This year, the classical dances will also have a unique momentum, as they will go beyond slow movements. Audiences usually tend to shy away from classical dances and the intent is to get a larger audience for these performances.

A case in point is renowned Bharata Natyam dancer Mallika Sarabhaifs performance on February 9, which, she says, will explore a new way of looking at bhajans.

Our dance, Sampradayam, is based on the revival of bhajans and will be all about the tempo, which is also representative of the festival's theme. It will be made up of contemporary choreography based on traditional Bharata Natyam,says Sarabhai, who will be performing at the festival for the first time in seven years.

Other leading exponents performing at the festival this year include Sangeet Natak Akademi awardees Aruna Mohanty and Deepti Omchery Bhalla, and Kuchipudi exponent Guru Smita Shastri. There will also be some firsttime performers, including Marathi actor Sharvari Jamenis, who has been learning Kathak for 25 years and will make her Kala Ghoda debut on February 1.

There is a certain prestige in performing at the festival. I have performed at festivals across the country and was waiting to perform at Kala Ghoda,says Jamenis, who has planned a solo and group performance.

In all, 22 dance genres will be on display through 38 performances over the nine days of the festival, representing various Indian states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Punjab and Kerala.

This will also be the first time that Manipuri folk dance will be performed at the festival. And it wonft all be classical fare either. Audiences will also get to jive to jazz, capoeira, hip hop and urban dancing. We are happy to have got an opportunity to perform here this year,h says Vernon Monteiro, one of the 16 members of Fictitious Group, which has been part of several international hip-hop competitions and will perform at KGAF 2014.

The dance performances will also move beyond the stage at Cross Maidan, into the street at Rampart Row, where folk dancers will join the cultural milieu of the Street Festival.

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