The nayika (female character) has been the glorified protagonist of most Indian classical dances, but here's a festival to challenge your notions. Over four days, five dance forms and eight performances at the Mudra Dance Week, you might understand better, the role of the nayaka (male character) in traditional dance.
"Most people consider classical dance a woman's domain, which is a bit chauvinistic. Here, we want to bring out not only strong characters like Krishna, Arjun and Ram, but also the male gurus, composers, choreographers and dancers who are shaping our dance tradition as we know it." says Amriti Lahiri, head of programming (dance) at NCPA.
Lahiri feels that the main motive of the event is to question the boundaries between the masculine and feminine in Indian dance. "The interpretation of masculinity, and how exactly a man dances, changes everyday," she argues, adding, "We see aggression and tandav-like performances from men, but at the same time, they have also expressed Radha and other such gentle, feminine characters so beautifully that you forget that they are not women themselves."
Mudra Dance Week will see eight artistes from across the country performing Kathak, Odissi, Kathakali, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi The finale on April 29, which will coincide with International Dance Day, will see two performances. Odissi dancer Sujata Mohapatra will be followed on stage by Sheejith Krishan, a dancer, choreographer and percussionist who is arguably one of the country's finest exponents of Bharatanatyam. Apart from the performances, it will also feature eight dance workshops.
Mudra Dance Week will be held at NCPA, Nariman Point, from April 26 to 29.