Dastaan-e-Kathak: The story of a storyteller

‘Dastaan-e-Kathak: The Story of a Storyteller’, a two-day festival to celebrate art in all forms will be held on February 3 and 4 at multiple venues in New Delhi.

An initiative by the ‘Kathak Day Trust’ to commemorate the birth anniversary (February 4) of Pt. Birju Maharaj as World Kathak Day, is a movement to initiate a revival in the way performing arts are perceived in India – using storytelling as a tool to appeal to a wider audience.

The festival will be an inclusive, interdisciplinary, creative, and modern interpretation of his philosophy to celebrate the life and learnings of one of the world’s greatest performing arts maestros – Pandit Birju Maharaj. The vision of this initiative is to inspire future generations to be an engaged community of Rasiks (informed connoisseurs of the arts).

The event has been curated by Shivani Varma, Kathak dancer, and Founder of ‘Kathak Day Trust’.

The evening of February 3 at Sunder Nursery will begin with an audio-visual retrospective of Pt. Birju Maharaj titled ‘When You Dance’, an experiential walk down memory lane by performing arts photographer, Innee Singh.

This will be followed by an interdisciplinary act ‘Tat Tvamasi’, inspired by Maharaj as a poet and percussionist. This piece directed by Shivani Varma, will be a live presentation of five different traditional dance forms by young dancers along with the accompanying percussion to show how all dance forms are based on a common source of laya, taal and raga.

The next act will be a piece on Lucknow by Muzaffar Ali. He will present stories from Lucknow, inspired by Birju Maharaj’s love for the place along with a dance performance.

The evening will conclude with a musical tribute by maestro vocalist Pt. Sajan Mishra, who will intersperse his recital with personal anecdotes and stories about Maharaj ji.

On February 4, an Art Mural on Birju Maharaj will be commissioned at the Lodhi Art District in New Delhi, which will be unveiled by flutist Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia. along with personalities from the dance fraternity.

Shivani Varma added: “We want to celebrate him in a way that resonates with his presence, that even though absent physically, the power of his teachings will always live on. And in a way that shows how much he impacted most aspects of performing arts in India in contemporary times.”




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