Event ‘India: Then, Now and Forever’, directed by Mallika Sarabhai, showcased the diversity of Indian dance.

The sheer variety of dance in India will never cease to amaze. ‘India: Then, Now and Forever,' directed by Mallika Sarabhai, showcased the richness and the history of Indian dance, using classical, folk and contemporary choreography.

The show, which was presented at Kozhikode as the opening programme of the ‘Malabar Mahotsavam' on a stage that resembled a ship, gave the audience a glimpse of the dances of different States and regions in India.

Group performance

The show began with a group performance on the dance of the Rathwa, a tribe of Gujarat. Mallika herself came on stage and through Bharatanatyam she traced the history of Indian dance becoming a temple art. It was a short but neat piece, but she would return for an even more impressive performance of Kuchipudi.

Mallika was well-supported by her troupe of 10 dancers from the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad. Her son Revanta Sarabhai D. Padmakumar, Murali Nair, Manoj Begga, Kishore Dave, Pinakin Thakker, Druma Mehta, Pooja Purohit, Hinal Patel and Radhika Patel, are all capable dancers.

Folk dances too

The show also offered many rare folk dances. One that stood out was the Thali dance of the Bhils. The colours of Rajasthan came alive in the Ghoomar.

The Raas of Gujarat was equally vibrant, graceful and colourful.

Chhau from the East and Laiharoba from the North-East reminded the audience of the diversity of Indian dance.

Mallika came back towards the end to lead a short piece called ‘Kaun?' The message in this one was that we can see the truth only if we are willing to discard the several masks we wear. It was well conceived and choreographed and even the white costumes were wisely chosen.

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