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Updated: January 30, 2013 19:21 IST

Dance and the doyen

Anjana Rajan
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Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj will be performing at the annual Vasatotsava. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao
The Hindu Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj will be performing at the annual Vasatotsava. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

Kalashram presents its annual Vasantotsava with a range of art forms

The arts are all about celebrating life in all its aspects. They are also about a journey that goes on regardless of changing circumstances and passing time. Kathak doyen Birju Maharaj who retired from the Kathak Kendra, the Government of India’s institute for Kathak dance, over a decade ago, has never stopped being synonymous with the art. Nearly seamlessly, he transformed the persona that had so imbued the workings of the Kathak Kendra into the leading light of his private institute Kalashram. Kalashram, whose etymology can be traced to the words for art (kala) and endeavour (shram) as well as refuge (ashram), has been running classes for youngsters and adults and organising programmes and seminars regularly for several years.

Kalashram’s annual spring festival Vasantotsava-2013 takes place February 1 to 3 at Kamani auditorium. This year is special as it is Birju Maharaj’s 75th birth year. Therefore on February 4, there is another special event to felicitate the doyen at FICCI auditorium.

The programme at Kamani has also been designed as a homage to Pandit Ravi Shankar, to whom all artistes wish to pay tribute. On the inaugural day, there is an interesting duet between Bharatanatyam dancer Zakir Husain and Gaudiya Nritya exponent Ayan Mukherjee. A choreographic presentation by Krishna Mohan Mishra and a shehnai-violin duet featuring Rajendra Prasanna and Santosh Nahar are also lined up. The highlight will be a tala vadya saession led by Pandit Birju Maharaj.

On the following days, a duet by Dhrub Ghosh (sarangi) and Partho Sarothy (sarod) is likely to be a big draw, as are special appearances by mridangam vidwan Karaikudi Mani and by Birju Maharaj.

Performances start at 6.15 p.m. all days. There is also a morning show on February 3 featuring disciples of the doyen in a Kathak presentation, “Dance in Celebration”.

The organisers even promise distribution of invitation passes to the February 4 event “by ballot” at the Kamani evenings.

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