The week-long festival features various styles.

As many as 26 programmes will be featured over seven days from January 3-9 the seventh dance festival of the Music Academy. Along with Bharatanatyam, Odissi (Sujatha Mohapatra) and Mohiniyattom (Methil Devika) will be featured. Five group presentations in Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Odissi will be featured along with two group productions in Bharatanatyam.

One of the highlights of this festival is the Bhagavad Dooth in Kathakali, a production by the renowned performer and Guru, Sadanam Balakrishnan, who will play the role of Krishna. Leela Samson, Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi, will be Draupadi. This presents the episode where Krishna goes to Duryodhana’s court as the messenger from Pandavas with a proposal for peace.

Gita Govindam of Jayadeva’s Ashtapadis is revived by Kalakshetra after several years. The choreography is by Rukmini Devi and the music is by Papanasam Sivan. Violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman has composed the music for Urmila Sathyanarayanan’s dance-drama Panchali Sapatham, with lyrics by Va.Ve.Su.

Keibul Lamjao is a floating sanctuary in Manipur for the Sangai Deer, which are known as the dancing deer. Due to hunting these deer have become an endangered species and face extinction. The legend of Kadeng the chief, who is sent to hunt these deer, is a tragic tale. The girl he loves requests him to bring a live deer for her. When he returns with the deer he finds that she has been taken to the king’s chamber to be one of his mistresses. A heartbroken Kadeng releases the deer and proclaims that anyone who hunts the Sangai deer would suffer separation from his loved ones.

The story cum script by M.K. Binodini was choreographed by Th. Chaotombi Singh in 1985 and has won wide acclaim in India and abroad. The dancers with their deer like movements in the Manipuri style make this a unique presentation with a contemporary relevance.

Nrityagram is presenting their latest production Samhara. Malavika Sarukkai, who has been exploring new avenues through her thematic productions, presents a traditional Margam this year. The other solo Bharatanatyam dancers in the evening slot are Alarmel Valli, Priyadarsini Govind, Rama Vaidyanathan, Narthaki Nataraj and Mythili Prakash.It is significant that all of them are from different schools and will show case the best of various traditions. As many as nine solo dancers are presented for the first time at the Academy in the morning sessions. Vaibhav Arekar, a senior male dancer and disciple of Dr. Kanak Rele is presenting a programme of new repertoire in the Margam format. A Swati Tirunal Composition on Anjaneya will be presented in the varnam format.

Ms Jennifer McIntyre, Consul General, Consulate General of the United States, will inaugurate the festival on January 3, 2013. Guru Sudharani Raghupathy will receive the Natya Kala Acharya Award on the occasion.