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Category: Music
Date:     01 October 2009
Time:     05:27 AM


New Delhi: SEHER, one of the premier organizations in the area of performing and visual arts,
presents Ananya Dance Festival 2009; its annual five-day classical dance extravaganza at Purana Qila
which celebrates the beauty of Indian classical dance forms and focuses on group choreography in
particular. The festival begins from October 03, 2009 till October 07, 2009 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:15
p.m. daily. The event is an annual feature by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi and SEHER and held in
association with Sahitya Kala Parishad. The entry to the festival is free.

Sanjeev Bhargava, Founder of Seher & Festival Director of Ananya Dance Festival says: “In a world
that is fast turning to western dance forms and an age where TRPs of reality television is growing,
Seher’s motto has always been to preserve the Indian heritage and culture. Ananya Dance Festival,
now in its eighth year, is one such attempt to showcase Indian classical dance in its pure form,
packaged sleekly for the younger generation and first time enthusiasts of Indian culture. With
Ananya, we have succeeded in democratizing culture by first taking classical dance into public
spaces like monuments and parks, and second, by imparting it a mass appeal. The festival will
feature only choreographed group performances to match the colossal size of the venue.”

While one the greatest achievements of Ananya have been to discover budding artistes and establish
their indisputable talent, it has also maintained high standards by featuring established seniors to
perform at this annual dance fest. With the audience always spilling over into the aisles at the
venue and even into the far off lawns at Purana Qila, Ananya Dance festival is a much awaited event
on Delhi’s cultural calendar

This year on October 3, the festival opens aptly with an Odissi performance by the veteran Madhavi
Mudgal who has created a special choreography after many years for the festival. Madhavi Mudgal has
wowed audiences in India and abroad with her delicate postures and strong rhythmic footwork that
create the appeal of sculpturesque movements. Her subtle abhinaya, strong music knowledge and
aesthetic sense add to the highly distinctive character of her recitals. Says Madhavi Mudgal: “We
have worked on three distinct pieces – one piece will be on the exploration of Orissa’s percussion
diversity brought out through abstract dance, second piece will be from Kalidas Kumarsambhavam which
will highlight the natya or dramatic element and the third piece will be an invocation to the sacred
river Ganga.” 

Another accomplished dancer whose dance is marked by extreme grace, radiant movements and expression
with geometrical precision and technical finesse is Gopika Varma who will with her group perform
Mohiniyattam on October 4. Says Gopika Varma: “We have chosen the theme – Sringara for our
performance which we will begin with an invocatory item - Choltekku on Kamadeva, the creator and
preserver of Sringara, followed by a composition of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal where the nayika
narrates to her friend her experience of first love. The scene will then move to the love triangle
between Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi and Ganga where Parvathi questions Shiva on his amorous
activity with Ganga. The choreography will conclude with Jeeva, a dance number that symbolically
shows the journey of the soul - the restless human form that transcends in the quest of knowledge
and realization and eventually leads to the attainment of the paramatma or the greater soul.” 

On October 5, the sister-duo Monisa Nayak (from the Jaipur gharana and trained under Rajendra
Gangani) and Moumala Nayak (from the Lucknow gharana and trained under Birju Maharaj) will perform
Nartan, a musical journey that showcases the varieties of music used in Kathak during old, medieval
and modern times. In an attempt to link the monument of Purana Qila with the sensuality of Kathak,
the two sisiters have created a specially synchronized performance. Monisa and Moumala Nayak say:
“Our performance Nartan has been divided into three stages - Temple period, Court period and Stage
period where each stage will describe how Kathak has evolved as a comprehensive and expressive dance
form. From the period it started in temple courtyards to the period when the royal courts of the
Muslim & Hindu kings of India started patronizing it and to the current period where it has been
elevated to the stage with other traditional dance forms. The climax of the choreography will be
with a jugalbandi (duet recital) of percussion and instruments and conclude with a bandish that
portrays a beautiful synthesis of all that is best in the two distinct cultures belonging to both
Hindu and Muslim periods of political rule and consequent social ethos of the Indo-Gangetic belt.”
Monisa Nayak’s performance is marked by her perfect blending of rhythmic patterns, footwork and
varieties of spins along with her profound expression while Moumala Nayak’s performance on the other
hand can be described as an excellent blend of sensuous movements and graceful footwork with
absolute control on laya.

October 6 will witness an avant-garde contemporary fusion by Astad Deboo and his troupe of eight
Pung Cholom drummers of Manipur. Says Astad Deboo: “Our performance, Rhythm Divine, is a highly
refined classical dance number characterized by the modulation of sound from a soft whisper to a
thunderous climax.” Playful birth, abandoned sounds and an excess of the mundane, Rhythm Divine’s
eerily moving ritual on stage capture the Manipuri idyll of a world that was before being swallowed
up forever by anarchy and chaos. What follows is a visual poetry — the oriental music and dance of
the drummers, slowly picking up the tempo with perfect synchronization once they beat the drums and
Astad Deboo who complements them with emoting fingers, eye-brows and body.

The grand finale on October 7 will witness Bharatanatyam danseuse Rema Shrikant make her debut in
Delhi where she attempts to showcase the dance form as the most effective vehicle to access the
realm of Hindu myth and scripture. The performance commences with a recital of Ganpati Vandana of
Ottukkadu Venkata Subaaarama Iyer, followed by Shrusti Tandavam, the dance of creation and depiction
of Shakti, the primordial saver of this vast manifestation. The dance concludes with Subramaniaya
Bharatiar’s mazhai or rain followed by a brisk tillana.  

Special Highlight: A special seminar titled PRATIBIMB (A reflection on Ananya Dance Festival); an
insight into how the choreographers who presented their work at Ananya retain the essential spirit
of the classical form, while also being innovative and creative will take place on October 6 and 7
at Alliance Francaise de Delhi, 72, Lodi Estate, New Delhi from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The eminent
panel of speakers will include Madhavi Mudgal, Monisa and Moumala Nayak, Gopika Varma, Astad Deboo,
Rema Shrikant and moderator, Sudha Gopalakrishnan. The seminar aims to create a dialogue between the
choreographers and the audience (young dancers, scholars, students and dance-enthusiasts) where the
discussion will revolve around ‘classical’ dance in today’s world with questions like how does the
choreographer engage with the grammar and vocabulary of classical dance forms and codifications for
a large audience; in a world of infinite choices-cinema, satellite TV, jazz, salsa, bollywood- what
does classical dance offer that is more attractive than these other options; what are the limits of
freedom for an artist, while attempting to be appealing and modern through experimentation and
innovation in their presentation.

(Featuring group choreographies)

Saturday, October 03, 2009: 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Odissi: Madhavi Mudgal & group (Delhi)

Sunday, October 04, 2009: 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. 
Mohiniyattam:  Gopika Varma & group (Chennai)

Monday, October 05, 2009: 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Kathak: Monisa and Moumala Nayak & group (Delhi)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009: 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. 
Contemporary: Astad Deboo (Mumbai) & the Pong Cholam drummers of Manipur

Wednesday, October 07, 2009: 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. 
Bharatanatyam: Rema Shrikant & group (Baroda)

Special Highlight: October 06 & 07 October, 2009: 

Two day interactive seminar -  PRATIBIMB  (A reflection on Ananya Dance Festival) with the artistes
of Ananya Dance Festival’ 09 will take place at Alliance Francaise de Delhi, 72, Lodi Estate, New
Delhi from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

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