CHENNAI: The grace of a dancer, the rhythm of the music and the aura of peace, all come together at the Vasant Utsav Festival of Dance, organised by the Saraswathi Educational Cultural and Charitable Trust at the Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple. While the pandemic shaved off two years for the first time since its inception in 2004, the Utsav is back in full swing once again from May 1.
“One of our agendas is to bring dance back to the temple. Dancers feel more energised by the positivity in the temple and also, once upon a time, it was a norm as well. It’s a spiritual experience for dancers. We also want to get as many youngsters and newcomers on stage,” began Priyadarshini Rajkumar, secretary of the trust.
A rich line-up of performances — consisting mainly of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, and Kathak — will be hosted with one or two performances a night. Performers include Sree Veena Mani, Lakshmi Shankar, Kalaimamani Binesh Mahadevan, Subbulakshmi Sekar, Sindhu Prashanth, Padma Shri Narthaki Nataraj, Gyana Mudhra, disciples of Devaniya School of Kathak, Shruti Laya School, Kanagasabai Academy, Nritya School of Dance and many more.
“We have dancers from all across the country, however, the inter-state participation is a little less this year. We time the festival according to Vasantha Vizha at Kapaleeswarar and so, there is a huge crowd. The devotees, too, sit down and watch. It is meant for everyone and entry is free. For the past two years, the pandemic has hit artistes.
There were no performances, little money; it had been a bad time, so the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, South Zone Cultural Centre, the Ministry of Culture have come forth with their support,” Priyadarshini explains, adding that the Trust hopes the performances introduces people to the dance forms and inspires them to encourage their children into the same and carry on the legacy.
Honours and awards
Keeping with tradition, the inaugural day will honour eminent dance gurus and other dignitaries, which include Padma Shri Narthaki Nataraj, Kalaimamani Anitha Ratnam, Guru Jigyasa Giri, Ooran Adigal, Ganesh Sharma, Venkataraman Sharma. The late Padma Bhushan R Nagaswamy and Venkat Vempatti will be given posthumous honours.