Khajuraho Festival of Dances - 2003
by Manjari Sinha, Gurgaon
The patronage of Chandela Dynasty during the 10th and the 11th centuries, led to the historical construction of the famous Khajuraho temples in the flat plateau of the Vindya mountains. The romantic classical art of these temples with the aesthetically carved love images of Sur-sundaries on its walls, portraying unity of the physical and the spiritual have enchanted art lovers from all over the world and so has the Khajuraho Festival of Dances.
All classical dances in India grew in the temples and flourished there for centuries. The temples were not only religious places but also centres of arts where the interdependence of culture, architecture, dance, music and poetry manifested itself in all its multiplicities and grandeur. The Khajuraho dance festival brings dances to their original divine home for a whole one week, with their multiple styles. The juxtaposition of the dancers with the ancient temple background is a means of spiritual communion, which is experienced not only by the performers but by the audience as well. The top most artists of each and every classical dance style have performed there during the last 27 years.
The 28th Khajuraho
Dance Festival was organised by Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad, a cultural
wing of the Madhya Pradesh Government, Department of Culture, from 25th
February to 3rd March 2003. This year the festival showcased only the young
artists, most of them performing there for the first time, like Anandi
Ramachandran - Odissi, Vyjayanti Kashi - Kuchipudi, Vani Bhalla and Jayaprada
Menon - Mohiniattam, Vasanti Shridhar - Bharatanatyam, Shila Mehta, Puja
Mani, Prajakta Raj and Shervari Jemenis - Kathak.
Odissi by Anandi Ramachandran of Mumbai and Kuchipudi by Vyjayanti Kashi of Bangalore were the attraction of the next evening. It was interesting to watch Ardha-narishwar in their respective styles. Anandi further danced to an Ashtapadi depicting abhisarika-nayika, going to meet her beloved against all odds, a Pallavi and an Oriya pad concluding her recital with Moksha. A talented disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, Anandi’s inherent grace and sensitivity are her greatest assets.
with a nandi shloka and proceeded to Ardha-narishwar. She chose Usha Parinayam
for her abhinaya piece; dancing on the edge of a thali she presented a
tarangam. Vedantam Radheshyam conducted the dance and the accompanied orchestra
with great verve and involvement.
The young and talented performing artists of Ammanur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurkulam, Kerala, presented ‘Shakuntala’- the first act of Abhijyanashakuntalam of the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa under the able direction of Shri G Venu. Kalidasa was being presented in the Kutiyattam style for the first time and so were the talented young artists of Natana Kairali, who enchanted the art lovers with their enthralling performance.
There was another first timer, in Ramli Ibrahim of Sutra Dance Theatre Company who along with his talented troupe of Odissi dancers came all the way from Malaysia to perform at the Khajuraho Dance Festival. His amazing Shivastak - the Shiv Tandava solo and other group choreographies were marked for their sheer brilliance.
concluded with yet another first time experiment of a unique presentation
by Astad Deboo’s contemporary dance along with the ‘Thang Ta’ martial dance
artists of Manipur. It was a brilliant performance. The Khajuraho
Dance Festival this year was telecast live by DD Bharati on all the seven
days, which has also never been done before. With no sponsors to support,
the festival carried on its glorious tradition and presented the best of
upcoming talents in various classical dance styles, artists from overseas
and a unique amalgam of contemporary modern dance with the martial art
of Manipur. Kudos to Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad.
Sinha has an MA in Sanskrit from Allahabad University, MA in Music from
Vikram University, Ujjain; B.Ed. from Lucknow University; Sangeet
Prabhakar in vocal, tabla, sitar and Kathak dance from Prayag Sangeet
Samiti, Allahabad; and further training in sitar from guru Arvind Parikh
in the lineage of Ustad Vilayat Khan. She contributes articles in
English and Hindi on Music (Hindustani & Carnatic), Dance, Art &
Culture for various leading music journals and periodicals. She gives
lec-dems on Indian classical music and dance in India and abroad.