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NCPA’s Mudra Dance Festival celebrates one of the key elements of Indian Classical Dance, ‘Aharya’

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New Delhi: The National Centre for the Performing Arts, as part of its mission to promote and preserve the country’s cultural heritage, proudly presents another edition of the Mudra Dance Festival – its annual thematic dance festival centered around the International Dance Day.  The festival will take place between April 4th and April 29th and will see a mélange of performances, workshops and exhibitions depicting stories from Indian mythologies and folktales across cultures. The annual theme, ‘Aharya’, will exhibit the uniqueness of jewellery, textile and make-up used in classical dance styles across India.

The inaugural program on April 4th will be headlined by two artistes – Bharatanatyam dancer Prachi Saathi and Manipuri exponent Latasana Devi. Prachi Saathi’s performance will combine Bharatanatyam, spoken word and music against a backdrop of animation and tribal Warli art. Latasana Devi and troupe, through their performance, will showcase a variety of colourful Manipuri dance costumes along with intricate jewellery and headgear.  In addition to the performances, the festival will also feature talks, workshops and exhibition at the Dilip Piramal Art Gallery – Talks by Dr. Malati Agneswaran on ‘Costumes and masks used in Indian folk dances’ and Dr. Radha Kumar on ‘Aharya – capturing the many facets. A study through historical sources’, Workshop and Exhibition ‘To stitch or knot – a dialogue between fabric and form’ by Sandhya Raman, and a Workshop on ‘Aharya & Natyashastra’ by Piyal Bhattacharya where participants will learn about the practical reconstruction of dance with an emphasis on ‘Aharya’. On International Dance Day, Sujata Mohapatra, the famed Odissi dancer, will conduct a workshop on ‘Soundarya – make up and more’ followed by a workshop on ‘Reimagining Dance Costumes’ by Kathak exponent and choreographer, Aditi Mangaldas. 

The Mudra 2024 will be yet another expression of the NCPA’s ongoing mission to preserve classical art and foster a deeper appreciation for artistes and connect people with their roots.

Speaking on this year’s theme and the Mudra Dance Festival, Swapnokalpa Dasgupta, Head of Dance Programming – NCPA said, “From ekaharya or enacting all characters in one aharya to the splendour of having different distinctive costumes and make up, dance has it all. In some choreographies it takes centre stage and in some a silent aid. But no matter what be its use, aharya is definitely the first impression and an important one.”

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