That's classic stuff, man: Male Bharatanatyam dancers to woo all

  • Nandini Agarwal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2015 16:32 IST
Lokesh Bharadwaj, one of the performers at the festival.

Think of Indian classical dance and the genre that comes to mind is Bharatanatyam. Although most gurus of this dance form in the past were male, it is a rarity to find male Bharatanatyam dancers today. But four men are set to change the precedent by presenting their choreographies during the fifth edition of the Purushaakaram: The Male in Bharatanatyam festival, in Delhi. It is presented as part of the annual Monsoon Dance Festival by India International Centre.

"It is a misconception that classical dance is meant only for women and is effeminate. Indian classical dance is suitable not only for the female body, but for everyone," says S Vijay Kumar, one of the Bharatanatyam dancers who is taking part in the festival.

"Today, when Indian classical dance seems headlined by women, it feels great to be a part of such an initiative," says Lokesh Bharadwaj, who will perform on music compositions by Carnatic music stalwarts Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar. Bharatanatyam exponent Renjith Babu will perform a dance recital based on Kalidasa's Abhijnana Shakuntalam, as part of the event.

Vijay Kumar, a male Bharatanatyam dancer.

"People think it is hard for a male dancer to perform since most of the songs are female oriented, but dance is just like acting or impersonation," says Vijay Kumar. His recital will portray a lady who is in absolute love with God.

"Bharatanatyam has a strong future, but is currently undergoing certain changes that could have a profound impact on the art form," says Praveen Kumar, the fourth artist.

What: Monsoon Festival of Dance - July 2015
Where: CD Deshmukh Auditorium, India International Centre, Lodhi Estate
When: July 16 - 17
Timings: 6 pm onwards
Nearest Metro Station: Jor Bagh on the Yellow Line

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