Two of India’s oldest dance forms — Kuchipudi and Odissi — came alive at Cross Maidan on Saturday, in performances by Ajay Kumar, followed by Gurus Debi Basu and Shubhada Varadkar and their students.
Kumar performed in the ancient Roopanu Rupam tradition, where male Kuchipudi dancers perform female roles. “Through the art form, the character communicates a monologue to the audience,” said Lata Surendra, curator of the dance section at the HT Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
This performance was followed by Vandanam, a tribute to the late Odissi exponent Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.
Being Valentine’s Day, part of this performance highlighted the relationship between the Hindu deity Krishna and his consort Radha. “The last piece of our act explored the eternal conflict of love and the ecstasy and agony of love,” said Basu.
For the audience, the performances were a memorable treat. “The dances were both enthralling and mesmerising. It was a memorable experience to watch such stalwarts perform live,” said Ulpa Mahadevia, 44, a performing artist from Churchgate. Added Michele Denis, 66, an English teacher from France: “I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I could interpret the dance through the actions. I felt blessed and mesmerised to witness such performances.”