As part of its year-long 40th anniversary celebrations, India’s premier classical dance institution, Shankarananda Kalakshetra, will be organising a three-day art exhibition, showcasing its history in performing arts.
Titled ‘Aharya Darpanam – Reflections on a Creative Journey’, the exhibition is a collaborative project with Kalakriti Art Gallery, and will present exclusive design aesthetics through exhibits showing traditional costumes worn by the institution’s classical dance performers. It refers to the ‘Aharya’ aspect in ‘Natya Shastra’, which essentially means a form of expression through costumes and scene enactment.
The ‘Darpanam’ aspect of the exhibition will focus on images and photographs, with the entire art show altogether covering 40 years of Shankarananda Kalakshetra’s artistic oeuvre.
The exhibition, which opens on 23 November 2018 at Kalakriti Art Gallery, has been curated by acclaimed Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi exponent Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant, who is also the founder and artistic-director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra.
“This is our way of bowing our heads in gratitude to the many artists and the ever-expanding network of our alumni who have made us what we are today,” said Dr. Jayant, who added that the exhibition is being co-curated by Ganesh Nallari and G Muralidhar.
The exhibition will be inaugurated by distinguished scientist Dr. D Balasubramaniam, and renowed art critic Ranee Kumar on 23 November at 6:30 pm at the gallery located in Banjara Hills. The exhibition will be open for public viewing on November 24-25, from 11 am to 7 pm.
The year-long celebrations to mark four decades of Shankarananda Kalakshetra began in August this year, with the premiere of the new production ‘Tales of the Bull and the Tiger’, featuring an ensemble cast of 23 dancers, select poetry and music from various Sanskrit as well as Tamil texts.
Under the artistic leadership of Dr. Jayant, who is the recipient of Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards, Shankarananda Kalakshetra has emerged as a pre-eminent national institution for performing arts. The well-known TED speaker has trained over 2,000 students, besides performing across five continents at national and international-level festivals.
It has produced 25 productions, which are an artistic body of work spanning mythologies, historical chronicles, gender issues, poetry, abstraction, philosophy and humour. Combining a wide spectrum of traditional and contemporary forms, the presentations are known for their excellent choreography, artistic brilliance, and visual aesthetics.
The institution imparts skills to students in Bharatanatyam, music, Yoga, Kalari, Nattuvangam, costume, stage, and sound & light techniques, thus providing a holistic training in the arts. It has also been a pioneer of arts in the digital space by creating Natyarambha, a first of its kind Bharanatyam practice app that is now followed by students and Gurus across the world.