Dance legends to converse with audience about life, works in Delhi

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (IANS) After mesmerising followers with performances, legends of Indian classical and contemporary dance — Birju Maharaj, Leela Samson and Astad Deboo — will open up about their life and works in a conversational style for an upcoming festival here.

Coming together for the second edition of the three-day Natya Ballet Dance Festival, to be held in association with Sangeet Natak Akademi, the living legends will engage their audiences in an open interaction.

In conversation would be legendary Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj, who is also a musician, percussionist, composer, director, choreographer and a poet. Recipient of India’s second highest civilian honour Padma Vibhushan, Maharaj comes from a family of dancers and has also dabbled into films.

Another noted classical dancer, Leela Samson would also feature in the festival. Samson, a Bharatanatyam exponent who has served as the chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification and the Sangeet Natak Akademi, is a recipient of the Padma Shri.

Veteran danseuse Astad Deboo, a pioneer of the Indian contemporary dance, has performed in over 30 countries and describes his style as “contemporary in vocabulary and traditional in restraints”, the organisers said in a statement.

All the three doyens, along with Mallika Sarabhai, an eminent choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, actor and writer, would speak in moderated sessions as part of the festival.

Other key events of the festival include masterclasses, a puppet-based retelling of the epic Mahabharata, dialogues on dance and theatre, and dance and film, along with stagings of dance productions.

As per the festival curators, the festival seeks to “go beyond just dance to showcase the various aspects of it inside and outside the proscenium space, and more importantly in the context of theatre and film”.

The dance festival is slated to take place from November 30 to December 2 at the Sangeet Natak Akademi here. Entry is free for the public.



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