Cherishing cultural expressions
The heart of the 48th All India Music and Dance Competition lies in its dedication to discovering and highlighting the raw talent of amateur artists between the ages of 8 and 23 in classical arts.
HYDERABAD: In a constant effort to uphold and cultivate traditional art forms in music and dance, Navya Nataka Samiti, an organisation with a 65-year legacy, recently organised their 48th All India Music and Dance Competition. The event drew in 415 participants from across the nation, to celebrate the rich heritage of Carnatic and Hindustani music, as well as diverse dance styles including Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Andhranatyam, and Kathak.
The competition, spanning a week from August 26th to September 1st, 2023, concluded on September 2nd, 2023. The prestigious occasion saw the distribution of prizes to winners by the honourable chief guest, Dr KV Ramana Chary IAS (retd.), and other distinguished guests.
The heart of this event lies in its dedication to discovering and highlighting the raw talent of amateur artists between the ages of 8 and 23 in the realm of classical arts. Among these gifted participants is M Soumya Menon, a Bharatanatyam dancer from Bhilai, who has been part of this competition for the past two years. Having secured 2nd prize in her debut and clinching the 1st prize in the junior section in the following edition, she now embarks on a new chapter as a senior contender in a 30-minute performance.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to perform with a live orchestra. The best part about the competition is that judges will ask us to perform something from the syllabus in the last 10 minutes. I don’t believe such programmes exist anywhere. Navya Nataka Samiti has very high standards, thus we have been rehearsing for the competitions for over a month,” says Soumya. Every stage is a learning experience for an artist; even if we do not win, we do learn, she adds.
N Sudhamala, an eminent dance guru, highlights the significance of this event, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the competition marking its return after the pandemic-induced break, the inclusion of a live orchestra distinguishes it from contemporary events that often rely on recorded audio. The value of performing before a live audience had been missed during the pandemic, and the presence of participants from all corners of India adds to the event’s vibrancy. “I can see the joy on the artists’ faces. And the winners from the previous 47 years of competition are accompanying us as judges and urging their students to participate makes us very proud,” says Sudhamala.
V Vijaya Kumar, President of Navya Nataka Samiti says, “We never deviate from our aim and objectives, that is our strength.” In addition to the competition, Navya Nataka Samiti has embarked on a new venture this year, introducing a series of research-oriented lectures and workshops. This initiative aims to revive the traditional Aalaya Sampradaya dance forms and delve into literary explorations on a variety of subjects throughout the year. Through these efforts, Navya Nataka Samiti not only preserves art but also imparts a renewed sense of vitality and understanding to these cherished cultural expressions.