Celebrating dance and music

Swartaal brings together three artistes from varied classical backgrounds

September 22, 2023 09:55 am | Updated 10:32 am IST

Rebecca Spurgeon, the festival director

Rebecca Spurgeon, the festival director | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Jagirti, Whitefield, presents a three-day dance and music festival called Swartaal. The festival, curated by artistic director of Jagriti, Rebecca Spurgeon, will feature performances by Prithvi Nayak, a student of Bijayini Satpathy, who is trained in Nrityagram and has also been a part of the dance school’s ensemble. She is currently transitioning as a solo performer and will open the festival.

The festival will also feature a music concert by Sangeetha Sivakumar, a senior Carnatic musician with a career spanning three decades. She has also been a part of the core team that organises the ‘Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha’ (previously known as ‘Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha’), a Chennai-based festival that is aimed at breaking down barriers and equalise spaces for the arts.

The festival ends with Katha, Kahaniya and Guftagu by Priyadarshini Ghosh. A trained Mohiniattam dancer, she also took extensive training under the legendary Kalanidhi Narayanan for abhinaya and is a Chau dancer in the Seraikella form and a student of Shashadhar Acharya.

The festival opens with Prithvi Nayak’s Odissi dance recital

The festival opens with Prithvi Nayak’s Odissi dance recital | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“When it comes to curating a festival such as this, one needs to also have a deep understanding of what Jagriti as a theatre stands for,” says Rebecca, who is organising the festival for the third time for Jagriti and has been with them for 12 years now.

While curating the festival, Rebecca says she wanted to make sure that it brought women artistes to the fore. “That is something that I keep returning to as a theatre artiste. Even as a young girl, seeing women take the stage had a strong impact on me. Over the years, I have looked up to so many women performers. I wanted to have women at the centre for this festival.”

Stressing the need to keep abreast of the varied creative works around, Rebecca says she consumes a lot of art and culture from across India. “I have known all these artistes for quite some time now. I was drawn to Prithvi’s work because she asks questions and interpretations, which she brings out in her dance. Her passion is what made us choose her to open the festival.”

The aim, Rebecca says, was not to provide a run-of-the-mill festival. “We wanted to bring something new to the audience and this newness is what we saw in Sangeetha. She has carved a space in the world of music. She is so sure of who she is, which also comes forth strongly in her performance.”

Priyadarshini, Rebecca says is an artiste and an academician. “She combines theatre, dance and music.”

All three shows begin at 7.30pm at Jagriti, Whitefield between September 22 and 24. Tickets are available on BookMyShow.

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