A new dimension

  • Arts
  • Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014

Renowned Indian classical dancer Chitra Visweswaran to light up

Soorya India Festival 2014.

THE annual Soorya India Festival returns to Malaysia on June 13 with the theme, Anubhuti (Sanskrit), which when translated, means a certain feeling, which gives or has an extra dimension.

The 2014 edition, to be held at the Shantanand Auditorium, Temple Of Fine Arts (ToFA) in Kuala Lumpur will see a bharatanatyam recital by Chitra Visweswaran, one of India’s leading classical dancers, and her group of dancers. Three local dancers from the ToFA will also grace the stage with a kuchipudi recital.

Dubbed the longest arts festival in the world, Soorya India Festival was founded 36 years ago by engineer Soorya Krishnamoorthy to disseminate and promote Indian culture and arts in India and around the world.

In India, the festival is organised by the Soorya Stage And Film Society, while different entities host the festival around the world. It has chapters in 36 countries, all non-profit organisations run by unpaid volunteers. Locally, Sopaanam Arts has been appointed as coordinator.

“We’ve been organising the festival here for the past seven years with the intention of exposing our youth to arts and giving Malaysian artists a chance to dance on the same stage as renowned artists,” says Dr CD Siby, chairman of the local organising committee.

Every year, Soorya himself will select the theme and handpick the artists who will perform abroad. They usually comprise musicians, dancers or both. His aim is to showcase their talent out of India. With the pool of talent available in India, the festival now runs 365 days a year all over the country!

“Last year, we had a combination of music, dance and shadow puppetry at the festival. This year, it’s only dance and we’re excited to have Chitra here because she is a well-known figure in the classical dance world,” adds Siby.

A winner of numerous awards, Chitra has played a crucial role in the development of Indian classical dance. With her creative mind and innovative ideas, she has evolved the classical dance form. Today, many universities and institutions have documented and used her style. She established an institution known as Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts in Chennai, where she teaches various forms of Indian classical dance.

Reviewers have described the eminent dancer as eclectic. Chitra has drawn a distinct individual style from her training in bharatanatyam, classical ballet, manipuri, kathak, carnatic music and theatre. Her exposure to learning and imbibing the aesthetics of light design from the legendary Tapas Sen was instrumental in making her one of the pioneers in the use of lighting design in a bharatanatyam platform.

Meanwhile, the kuchipudi dancers will perform the invocation dance, Poorva Rangam. It is an Indian tradition to pray before beginning any auspicious undertaking. Natya Sastra, the ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, lays down an elaborate process. Here it is the abridged version, preserving the essential features.

There will also be a free lecture-demonstration by Chitra and her disciples at 7.30pm on June 12 at the Indian Cultural Centre, Cap Square Signature Office B (Level 1), Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Kuala Lumpur.

Soorya India Festival 2014 will take place at The Temple Of Fine Arts, 116 Jalan Berhala, Kuala Lumpur on June 13. Showtime: 7.30pm. Invitations for the show are based on donations of RM50 and above. For details call 012-695 9343, 019-261 1262, 016-318 0528, or 013-385 7955.

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A new dimension


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