Oct 13, 2015

Kathak Brings Curtains Down on Old Fort Dance Festival

Presented by Sahitya Kala Parishad & Dept of Art, Culture & Languages, Govt of Delhi, the festival was held over five days with participation from veterans such as Pandit Birju Maharaj, Leela Samson, Madhvi Mudgal, among others

New Delhi :  After five days of breathtakingly beautiful performances showcasing India’s most loved classical dance forms, the Old Fort Dance Festival ended today with a memorable performance by legendary Kathak exponent Pandit Birju Maharaj, and his group of dancers.

One of the most noted exponents of Kathak, Pandit Birju Maharaj has received numerous accolades over the years including Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Academi Award and the prestigious Kalidas Samman.

Presented by the Sahitya Kala Parishad & Department of Art, Culture & Languages, Government of Delhi, the Old Fort Dance Festival was loved and enjoyed by the people of Delhi who turned up in large numbers to witness the performances.

Over five days, the audience of dance lovers in the capital witnessed brilliantly choreographed performances in Mohiniyattam, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odishi and Kathak, with the majestic ruins of Delhi’s Purana Qila providing a fine ambience to this unique festival celebrating India’s classical dance forms.

“The repertoire of Indian classical dances represents centuries of culture and tradition that has been preserved and sustained by generations of devoted exponents and earnest artists. Across the globe, Indian classical dance forms are appreciated and loved by dance lovers. Such festivals help extend the reach of classical dance forms to not just connoisseurs of dance but also to common people,” says Pandit Birju Maharaj.

On the sidelines of the festival, critically acclaimed artist Manav Gupta displayed his latest installation – a waterfront of Ganga made out of chilams and diyas which are elements of nature. He has been working since long to create public art sculptures that generate concern towards sustainability. “This innovative art practice with potter’s clay (chilams and diyas) represents the tool as a means of getting intoxicated with the rain of love and also explores sustainable development,” said Mr. Gupta.

The five-day festival of choreographies in classical dance forms saw participation from legendary dance artists and their groups in multiple dance forms including Kuchipudi exponents Bharati Shivaji, Raja and Radha Reddy; veteran Odissi exponent and Padma Shri Madhvi Mudgal; Bharati Shivaji & Group who performed Mohiniyattam; and noted Bharatnatyam exponent Leela Samson and her group.

“The idea behind the Old Delhi Dance Festival to juxtapose cultural heritage with structural heritage was a wonderful concept. The Purana Qila presents a poignant background to the performance of India’s most notable classical dance forms, some of whom originated centuries back in ancient and medieval times,” says Ms Leela Samson.

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