Showcasing the best of the rich and diverse Indian dance traditions, the Nishagandhi Dance Festival will get off to a colourful start at the Kanakakkunnu Nishagandhi Auditorium here on January 20 (Sunday), with Governor of Kerala Justice (Retd) Shri P Sathasivam inaugurating the seven-day event.
Hon. Governor will present the prestigious Nishagandhi Puraskaram to Mohiniyattam exponent Kalamandalam Kshemavathi on the occasion. The coveted honour, bestowed on top-notch choreographers in recognition of their life-long contributions, carries a purse of Rs 1.5 lakh, a bronze statuette of sage Bharathamuni and citation.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran will preside over the function, to be held at 6.15 pm. Orgaznised by Kerala Tourism Department, the annual cultural event will see leading performers and choreographers from across the country enthralling the audience at the open air Nishagandhi Auditorium on evenings for a week.
The cultural extravaganza will see staging of a wide variety of genres of Indian dance including Odissi, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi, with the lush palace premises reverberating with the sound of anklets and musical instruments.
The inaugural ceremony will be attended by Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, K Muraleedharan,MLA, V K Prasanth, Mayor, M Vijayakumar, Chairman, KTDC, Rani George, Secretary Tourism and Culture, and P Bala Kiran, Director, Tourism.
After the opening ceremony and a choreographed curtain-raiser, the fiesta will get rolling with a Mohiniyattam performance by eminent choreographer Dr Neena Prasad. This time, the festival will also feature a Bharatanatyam performance by transgender artist Dr Narthaki Nataraj, in tune with the state government’s policy of promoting aspirations of artists without any gender bias.
In the subsequent days, the festival will have performances of Rashmi Menon (Mohiniyattam), Christopher Gurusamy, Aditya PV (Bharatanatyam), Vyjayanthi Kashi (Kuchipudi), Manjushree Panda(Odissi),T Reddi Lakshi (Kuchipudi), Sudip Kumar Ghosh& group (Manipurui) , Namrrata Raai (Kathak), Nrutya Naivedya troupe (Gottipuva) Raminder Khurana (Odissi) and Monisa Nayak& group (Kathak).
Held in the majestic premises of the Knakakkunnu Place in the heart of Kerala capital, the Nishagandhi Festival has over the years been a never-miss event for the connoisseurs as well as art lovers.
Though there had been an initial thinking of setting aside cultural festivals for an year in view of the grim blow dealt on the state by the devastating floods, it was later decided to conduct the important among them as per the schedule. The Nishagandhi Dance Festival, considered as a premium tourism product, is being conducted this year with the support of sponsorships, thereby minimising the outgo from the government’s kitty.