Thiruvananthapuram: The sprawling lawns of Kanakakkunnu will reverberate with a bouquet of Indian classical dance performances with this year’s edition of the Nishagandhi Dance Festival set to begin on Saturday, January 20. Renowned artistes from across the country will enthrall the audience with their performances in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Manipuri, Odissi and Kathakali during the seven days festival that ends on January 26.
Justice(Rtd) P Sathasivam, Governor of Kerala, will inaugurate the dance festival at the Nishagandhi Auditorium, Kanakakkunnu at 6.15 pm, at a function presided over by Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswoms.
Talking to the media today, Kadakampally Surendran said, the Nishagandhi Dance Festival has today become a cultural extravaganza which the nation can proudly hold aloft. “The dance festival has become a prominent event in the tourism calendar of the country. The Nishagandhi Dance Festival has assumed a stature among cultural events of significance, with tour operators from across India marking the dates on their calendar,” he said.
Stating that, as many as 200 applications had been received for participation in the dance festival, the Minister added that Nishagandhi Dance Festival has turned out to be among the most sought after cultural events in India and Kerala Tourism has been receiving applications six months in advance from all around.
The legendary dancing duo, V P Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan will be conferred the prestigious Nishagandhi Puraskaram, at this year’s edition of Nishagandhi Dance Festival.
The Governor of Kerala will bestow the honour on the legendary Bharatanatyam exponents at the inaugural event of the spectacular annual show organised by Kerala Tourism. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.1.50 lakhs, a statuette of Sage Bharatha and a citation. This is for the first time artistes from Kerala are being awarded the Nishagandhi Puraskaram since its constitution in 2013.
The doyens of Bharatanatyam, the Dhananjayans have redefined the art from in more ways than one. They are trend setters in the field of Bharatanatyam, bringing fresh waves of choreographic innovations and creativity within the traditional repertoire; a true inspiration for upcoming Bharatanatyam dancers. The seniors most disciples of the legendary Rukmini Devi Arundale and alumnae of the famed Kalakshetra, the Dhananjayans founded “Bharatakalanjali” in 1968, an institution which seeks to promote and develop Indian art and culture by offering the best Gurukul system of training combined with modern approach. Choreographers par excellence, the Dhananjayans have undertaken collaborations with western choreographers and ballet dancers, while retaining the traditional essence of Bharatanatyam, Kathakali and other dance forms.
An eminent jury, chaired by Former Chief Secretary & acclaimed lyricist K. Jayakumar; art critic & writer Ashish Mohan Khoker; renowned dance exponent Ananda Sankar Jayant; art critic & writer Veejay Sai; Dr. Venu V, former Tourism Secretary and P. Bala Kiran, Director-Kerala Tourism chose this year’s winners of Nishagandhi Puraskaram.
A Kathak performance by Nadam Ensemble lead by Murali Mohan and Nandini Mehta after the inaugural event will set in motion an array of splendid performances.
A delectable combination of two South Indian dance forms – Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi – has been lined up to captivate audiences on the second day of the festival. The artists are Vidya Pradeep and Deepika Reddy respectively. Bharatanatyam recital by Parshwanth Upadhye and a Mohiniyattam performance by the state’s very own Kerala Kalamandalam will mark Day Three.
A Bharatanatyam performance by Padma Bhushan Alarmel Valli is the foremost attraction on Day 4. Girish Chandra and Devi Girish will stage a Kuchipudi recital, and the Kishiki Dance Academy led by Daksha Mashruwala will perform Odissi on the same day.
Bharatanatyam by Rithu Prakash, Kuchipudi by Pasumarthi Mruthyanjaya and Kathak by Nadroop led by Sharma Bhate are the attractions on Day Five.
The penultimate day will feature a Bharatanatyam performance by Aparna Vinod, Mohinyiattam by Anusri and Odissi by Rudrakshaya Foundation lead by Bichithrananda Swain.
Bharatanatyam performance by PadmaSri ChithraVisweswaran and her group on January 26 will bring the curtains down on this season of Kerala’s famed Nishagandhi Festival.
Aficionados of Kathakali can savour a feast in the Kathakali Mela segment of the festival on all seven days. While “Rugmangatha Charitham” will be staged on January 20th, the opening day of the mela, “Nalacharitham Onnam Divasam” will be performed on 21st January. “Balivadham” and “Banayudham” will be performed on January 22nd and 23rd respectively. On January 24th, “Nalacharitham Moonam Divasam” will be performed, while “Duryodhanavadham” will be staged on January 25th. The Kathakali Mela 2018 will conclude with “Keechakavadham” on January 26th.