A subtle play of advanced aesthetics combines with sheer dramatic and sensory richness at the Mudra dance festival.

For dance lovers in Mumbai, April at the NCPA is a month to look forward to. This year the Mudra dance festival 2012 enhances the annual offering of performances with a thoughtfully curated selection of a dance photography exhibition, workshops, lecture demonstrations, film screening and discussions at various halls within the NCPA complex. These diverse events take place throughout the month with a grand finale in the last week.

For a city where dance is not the foremost art form, efforts like these go a long way in building an audience. The selection of artistes is designed to appeal to purists, intrigue new converts and appeal to first-timers. A subtle play of advanced aesthetics combines with sheer dramatic and sensory richness.

Beginning with a dance photography workshop on April 9, the next two days comprise a screening of the National Award winning “Lasya Kavya: The World of Alarmel Valli”, followed by an interaction with the dancer and its director Sankalp Meshram. Speaking of the 77-minute film Alarmel says, “It is a complete film; in that it brings together not just segments of dance but also my thoughts and ideas on dance. It touches on aspects of my life that were significant in shaping me”. The film also includes footage from an 8mm film on her arangetram.

From April 18 to 29, is an exhibition that includes photos of dance performances at NCPA over the years including those of great gurus at Piramal Gallery.

The centrepiece is a lec-dem by Sadanam Balakrishnan introducing the next day's performance, “Keechakavadham” from the Mahabharata, a rare full length Kathakali performance that will include Leela Samson. The performances begin on April 26 with a Kathak performance by Pandit Birju Maharaj. Odissi by Aruna Mohanty and troupe and a Seraikela Chhau performance by Shashadhar Acharya and troupe follow. The festival ends with a Bharatanatyam performance comprising an evening of abhinaya with padams and javalis by Bragha Bessell.

Bottomline: A thoughtfully curated selection of exhibitions, workshops, lec-demos, film screening, performances and discussions.

Mudra dance festival 2012; April 9, 10, 11, 19, 26, 27, 28, NCPA, Nariman Point Mumbai 400021022 Ph: 22824567