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Khajuraho Dance Festival 2016 promotes classical dances, enthralls audience

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Chattarpur, MP: Methil Devika, a Mohiniyattam exponent currently performing at the 42nd edition of Khajuraho dance festival in Madhya Pradesh takes it as a dream come true to perform with so much divine energy of Khajuraho. She is so overwhelmed by the experience.

“While performing, I experienced potent divine energy here,” said Devika.

The Khajuraho festival, held on February 20-26, was organized by Madhya Pradesh culture department to brought together some of the prominent artists of classical dance form like Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi and Odissi.

Devika, who is the winner of Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, Devadasi National Award and Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi award, attract the audience with her exceptional dance steps on Mohiniyattam.

She felt so blessed to perform in front of the Vishwanatha Temple devoted to Lord Shiva and Chitragupta Temple devoted to Surya, the Hindu sun god.

“If earlier, Khajuraho was all about splendour, dance, and publicity, now I see it in a different light. One has to be blessed to perform here. The energy is tremendous,” said Devika, who is also trained in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi.

According to her, Khajuraho has an important role in promoting classical dances.

“Khajuraho is on the top of the list of every artist. When Khajuraho gives you the chance, you know that you are there. There are very few stages in India which are as significant as this. The festival not only promotes the venue but also inculcates a desire amongst dancers to vie for excellence,” she said.

Devika used different and new styles in her 40 minutes performance which was a totally a special experience for the viewers. She brings a new connotation Mohiniyattam, which means “dance of the enchantress” and uses “lasya” as its major move. She is in the mission to redefine the concept of lasya.

“As a dancer, I believe that one needs to revive the art form. One should explore further within the grammar. For me, lasya only means a solo art form, an art form which can tell the stories of love. I want to define enchantment as the enchantment of one’s own soul,” she said.

Devika started her performance with a devotional part on Shivshakti from Soundarya Lahri. She continued with padam composed by Swati Tirunal showing the unconsummated love of the nayika on the description of her Lord Vishnu and the roudram in her tribute to goddess Mahakali or Tandav by Lord Shiva. Devika’s variation from the typical style was an exciting experience for the audience.

“For me, it is all about exploring the potential of an art form. I find Mahakali enchanting because she has the power to destroy the evil,” said Devika adding that art has to benefit society.

She believes in raising the masses whether it’s contemporary or folk dance.

The dance research scholar said, “Contemporary dance means taking a dance back to the roots. If I learn martial art tomorrow, I can do contemporary Mohiniyattam. It’s all about tapping the potential of an art form to heal or inducing a style.’’ (IANS)

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Who was Sitara Devi? Google Doodle Celebrates 97th Birth Anniversary of the Kathak Legend

A recipient of Padma Shri, Kalidas Samman, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Nritya Nipuna, Sitara Devi was also an accomplished dancer in many other styles including Bharatanatyam, folk dances of India, Russian ballet and other western forms.

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Sitara Devi
Google doodle for Sitara's Devi's birth anniversary. Google

New Delhi, November 8, 2017 : Search engine Google on Wednesday dedicated its doodle to ‘Nritya Samragini’ Sitara Devi on her 97th birth anniversary.

In the doodle the Kathak legend is seen in a pink costume posing elegantly at the centre of the graphic, with the accompaniments of instruments – ghungroo, tabla and sitar — taking the place of the remaining alphabets in the word ‘google’ .

Who Was Sitara Devi?

The eminent classical dancer was born in 1920 to a Brahmin family from Varanasi living in Kolkata (then Calcutta).

Her father Sukhadev Maharaj was a school teacher but practised and performed Kathak, as well.

Sitara Devi started with solo performances at the tender age of 10.

When her family shifted to Bombay (now Mumbai), she gave a Kathak performance in the Atiya Begum Palace before a select audience, which included Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu and Parsi philanthropist Sir Cowasji Jehangir.

At just 16, Sitara Devi enthralled her audience. So impressed was Tagore with her performance that he gave her the title “Nritya Samragini” (the empress of dance).

Sitara Devi presented Kathak at international venues like the Royal Albert Hall, London, and Carnegie Hall, New York.

She has also been part of many Bollywood movies like “Usha Haran”, “Nagina”, “Roti”, “Vatan”, “Anjali” and “Mother India”.

She has been a mentor to many Bollywood actresses and taught them Kathak. Madhubala, Rekha, Mala Sinha and Kajol are some of them.

A recipient of Padma Shri, Kalidas Samman, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Nritya Nipuna, Sitara Devi was also an accomplished dancer in many other styles including Bharatanatyam, folk dances of India, Russian ballet and other western forms.

After a period of prolonged illness, the Kathak maestro breathed her last on November 25, 2014 at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai. (IANS)