Preview: Lasyakalpa Foundation's annual dance festival will feature performances by young dancers from across India
Hyderabad-based Lasyakalpa Foundation is back with its annual dance festival, which celebrates performers and dance forms from across the country. This time around, the festival is titled Mukuram — The blossoming fragrance of Indian Art. Started by founder and dancer Katyayani Ganti in 2013, the three-day celebration of Indian dance forms has set a benchmark in the city’s classical dance circuit. The festival will feature three solo performances by dancers covering different dance forms — Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Manipuri. “This year, in a move to bring artistes who are passionate and enthusiastic about their art, we have curated a line-up of young dancers from different states, unlike our previous editions where we have had senior and established artistes. The title Mukuram means a bud in Sanskrit, and that’s exactly what we have this year — budding artistes,” says Katyayani.
Ahead of the event, we catch up with Kankana Singh, a renowned Manipuri dancer about her approach and sensibilities. Belonging to a family of performers, Kankana started learning Manipuri dance at the age of five and went on to perform at various prestigious festivals. She is the grand-daughter of renowned dancer duo Guru Bipin Singh and Guru Kalavati Devi and was trained under them. Today, she is one of the senior-most students of Manipuri Nartanalaya, and also received the Nalanda Nritya Nipuna award from Nalanda Dance Research Center, Mumbai recently. Excerpts:
What can we expect from your performance at the annual dance festival?
My entire programme is named — an ode to the almighty. So my performances will include a Varnan of Lord Krishna, his leelas of Nanichuri and Kaliya Daman. I will also be presenting an abhinaya piece describing the monsoon and the seasons of love and fertility. There’s an ode to Lord Shiva, which will showcase the devotional aspect of Manipuri dance. Moreover, my movements for this production are inspired by animal gaits.
What were your first experiences with dance and when did you take it up professionally?
I often say that my journey as a dancer started even before I was born. My parents are professional Manipuri dancers. I was five when I had my first performance as Krishna in the rasleela, and I have been dancing since then (laughs). Going forward, I would like to amalgamate dance and philosophy and pursue something that will connect my subjects of interests.
How do you pick themes for your performances? What are your influences?
Narrating a story to the audience has always been a priority for me. I understand that sometimes dancers become aloof and only dance for ourselves, but that also has its charm. However, I try to maintain a balance and incorporate both in my pieces. My influences come from everything around me and the history of the dance form that I have grown up reading. I also keep in mind the regional audiences and figure out themes that would attract them as well.
The festival will also feature performances by Shweta Prachande and Akshiti Roychowdhury.
Till December 21, 6.30 pm. At Ravindra Bharathi.