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Natya Vriksha’s dance festival enthrals audiences

Odissi performance by Shalakha Rai of Delhi during the two-day festival by Natya Vriksha

Over the weekend, a two-day dance festival was held by Natya Vriksha, an institution headed by renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Padma Shri Geeta Chandran. The event was held to celebrate the World Dance Day which is observed on April 29.

The 16th edition of this annual event was held India International Centre included discussions and workshops, and a number of mesmerising dance presentations.

One of the main programmes held on both the days was a workshop on Natyashastra titled “Understanding the Metaphysics of Movement – The True Spirit of Nritta” by Kolkata-based Piyal Bhattacharya.

Mridusmita Das
Sattriya performance by Guwahati’s Mridusmita Das

Bhattacharya explained to the large gathering about the nuances and insights of Natyashastra through nritta. Students numbering 80 from diverse dance styles were taught the precise movements as written by Bharata in his Natyashastra.

The workshop was followed by a seminar on Role of Art in Education – Curriculum Creation, Integrated Education and Empowering Stakeholders. Moderated by Chandran the discussants were Manjima Chatterjee, Vice Principal, Shiv Nadar School, Noida; Amrita Shruti Radhakrishnan, a research scholar; and Radhika Kathal, a dancer. The main thrust of the discussion was how art education can change the education system.

The first day saw Odissi performance by Delhi’s Shalakha Rai and Bharatnatyam by Divya Devaguptapu from Chennai.

On the second day of the workshop, Bhattacharya explained many integral aspects of dance like body movement, adjustment of rhythm, and importance of depicting the right bhava at the right time. This was followed by a lec-dem yoga and dance by Dr. Rekha Tandon from Pondicherry.

Natya Vriksha Festival
Dancers who performed at the Natya Vriksha Festival

The festival concluded with performances of Sattriya by Guwahati’s Mridusmita Das and Mumbai-based Pavitra Bhatt’s Bharatanatyam.

Talking about the World Dance Day, Chandran said it is an occasion to celebrate the relevance of dance in our society and an opportunity to understand the problems faced by dancers.

Kamalini Dutt, who retired as the Director of Doordarshan’s Central Archives was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by Natya Vriksha during the festival.