Kerala Tourism’s week-long Nishagandhi Dance Festival will open at the sprawling Kanakakunnu Palace grounds here on Thursday.
The tourism department has lined up some of India’s best classical dancers and upcoming stars to mesmerise the audience at the annual event. The festival showcases recent trends in Indian classical dance forms and sets a stage for upcoming artistes to present their talents and experiments before an elite audience.
The festival features artistes from different parts of India and diverse traditions of classical dance forms. The public entry to the classical dance festival, which has already gained global attention for its ensemble of diverse Indian traditions, is free.
The inaugural ceremony will be held at 6 pm, followed by “Amba”, a specially choreographed Mohiniyattam production of Kerala Kalamandalam Major Troupe at 6.30 pm. At 7.15 pm, New Delhi-based Bharatanatyam exponent Arupa Lahiry will enthral the audience with the original form of Indian classical dance, followed by a Kathak performance by the National Kathak Kendra Group, New Delhi, at 8.15 pm.
On Friday, Bharatanatyam dancer Pritam Das from New Delhi will make his performance at 6 pm, followed by Arushi Mudgal’s Odissi at 6.45 pm and Manju V Nair’s Bharatanatyam at 8 pm. On Saturday, Sandhya Venkiteshwaran will perform Bharatanatyam at 6 pm, followed by Odissi performance by Ananya Parida and Rudraprasad Swain at 6.45 pm and Kathak of Tribhuwan Maharaj and his troupe.
Akhila G Krishnan will perform Mohiniyattam at 6 pm on Sunday, followed by Padma Shri Geeta Chandran’s Bharatanatyam at 6.45 pm and Padma Shri Guru V Jayarama Rao and his group’s Kuchipudi at 8 pm. On February 19, Monday, Nandakishore will perform Bharatanatyam at 6 pm, followed by the Bharatanatyam performance of Bhadra Sinha and Gayathri Sharma at 6.45 pm and Mohiniyattam of Dr Mini Pramod Menon and Group at 8 pm.
February 20, Tuesday, features Janani Murali’s Bharatanatyam at 6 pm, Vinitha Nedungadi’s Mohiniyattam at 6.45 pm and Bijula Balakrishnan and Group’s Kuchipudi at 8 pm. The highlight of the concluding day on February 21, Wednesday, is the Sattriya performance of Madhusmita Bora and Prerona Bhuyan at 6 pm, Bharatanatyam by Padma Shri Malavika Sarukkai at 6.45 pm and Manipuri dance by Dr Sinam Basu Singh and Group at 8 pm.
The programmes will end with a Kathakali Melam performed by leading exponents of the traditional Kerala dance-drama on all days – from February 15 to 21.
“Kerala has a great tradition of celebrating cultural and ethnic diversity,” Tourism and Public Works Minister PA Mohammed Riyas said. “Celebrations such as Nishagandhi Dance Festival form a part of State Tourism’s tenacious efforts to keep the country’s diversity in arts intact.”