Men's classical dance festival wins hearts

Perfect moves

Delhiites were recently treated to an all-male classical dance festival ‘Nrityajyoti.’ It was organised by Nrityangana, a City-based dance and music forum, bringing together four renowned male dancers from different parts of the country. Each of them performed four varied and exquisite dance forms and won the hearts of all present.

Established in 2010, Nrityangana has been holding this festival since last year and comes up with interesting themes every time. Last year, they had a three-day long festival called ‘Tea Grooves Festival’, exhibiting dances of the Eastern tea gardens of India. This year, they came up with an all-male classical dancers’ festival to promote male artistes.

Sohini Basu, CEO of the Studio Groove Group, of which Nrityangana is a part, said, “Our artistes’ forum has many acclaimed male dancers but of late we realised that men in Indian classical dances are looked down upon and sometimes even jeered at by the public. This is in stark contrast to men in Western dances who are respected and idolised.”

“Therefore, we decided to bring together four accomplished male dancers this time. Even the chief guests at the fest were renowned male dancers Guru Singhajit Singha and Charu Sija. It is our way of preserving Indian traditional dances as well as promoting male classical dancers.”

The programme started with the performance of Nritya Shiromani awardee Odissi exponent Guru Chittaranjan Acharya. Chittaranjan, who teaches dance to the specially-abled in Bhubaneswar, performed Suryanamaskar depicting all the yoga asans and zodiac signs. Sohini remarked, “Being from the old school, he performed pure Odissi with original mudras. No one does that these days.”

This was followed by recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan award, Naren Baruah. He performed the Sattriya dance of Manjuli tribe of Assam founded by 15th century saint Srimanta Sankardeva. It included two pieces Nadubhangi and Ojhapali, both of which made use of tribal music and dance moves. 

The guest performer was Ricky from Taiwan, a Kathak dancer and disciple of Birju Maharaj. He performed Shiv vandana – prayers to lord Shiv in dance, and tarana – a technical aspect of Kathak involving enthralling footwork. His expressions and postures were immaculate.

Lastly, the director of the forum, Sudip Kumar Ghosh, a veteran and recipient of the Best Teacher’s Award, performed Manipuri dance. He rendered Dasavatar – the 10 avatars of lord Vishnu, and Tagore ballet in this style. Tagore, during one of his visits to Manipur, is said to have loved Manipuri dance so much that he brought a teacher from there to Shantiniketan and got the Tagore ballet adapted in this style. Sudip performed it to perfection.
Sohini said, “The judges and the audience, both were mighty pleased with the festival. Probably, no one expected an all-male dance fest to look so graceful and technically correct but they prove their mettle every time.”

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