With an interesting line-up of various Indian dance forms, the fifth edition of The Music Academy's annual dance festival got under way here on Monday. The seven-day festival will feature a host of Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi and Kathakali performances.
Inaugurating the festival, Kalakshetra Foundation director and Sangeet Natak Akademi Chairperson, Leela Samson, said the festival was a laudable initiative of The Music Academy, which has been conducting it with notable grandeur.
Highlighting the issues that dancers and dance forms face in recent times, Ms. Samson said there was a growing tendency among young classical dancers to rehash old choreographic styles without adequate research. Other Indian dance forms, apart from Bharatanatyam, should be equally patronised for the holistic growth of dance as an art, she added.
Observing that dance, like many other performing art forms, was devoid of proper documentation, she said textbooks used in schools do not record much information about dance and dancers, thereby depriving the students of enough knowledge about the art form. Dancers should consider it a privilege to help those children who are willing to learn the art form but do not have access to it.
Ms. Samson said that the documents and recordings of artists of yore would soon become a shared treasure. The documents, sourced from Doordarshan, All India Radio and Sageet Natak Akademi, would be housed at the proposed National Museum of Performing Arts. A television channel exclusively for arts was also on the anvil, she added.
President of The Music Academy, N. Murali, said the festival was an attempt to provide a platform for a wide-range of classical dance forms of India. He announced that ‘Natya Kala Acharya Award,' carrying a cash prize of Rs.1 lakh, would be instituted from the next year as part of the festival.
Sreedhar Potarazu, CEO, VitalSpring Technologies, the main sponsor of the festival, said the festival was an initiative to create a dance legacy and provide senior and emerging artists a prestigious platform. He observed that there has been an increase in public-private partnership in supporting art forms. He announced that a grant of Rs.2 lakh per year for dance productions or performances would be awarded from next year, in memory of his mother Rukmini.
The festival convenor N. Ramji spoke. The festival opened with a Bharatanatyam performance by Rama Vaidyanathan.