Kalpa, a society for promotion of literature, art, culture and social harmony, announced the 11th edition of Pragjyoti International Dance Festival (PIDF) on January 21. National award winning Sattriya danseuse and festival director of PIDF, Anwesa Mahanta announced that the festival replete with performances, film screening, panel discussions on art, music and dance will be celebrated at Sri Sri Madhavadeva International Auditorium, Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati on January 31 and February 1, 2020.

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Anwesa Mahanta said, “The celebration of 11 glorious years of our Festival has been curated with a wider cause of addressing the various concerns of Dance – its practice and pedagogy, challenges and perspectives, training and research and other issues of social relevance. With a firm conviction to cultural identity, sharing a rich legacy of arts, the festival reaches out to the youth with a message of social harmony and cultural convergence through arts”.

The curtain raiser of PIDF will be held at Sri Sri Madhavadeva International Auditorium of Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati from 5:00 pm onwards on January 31. The curtain raiser will feature a performance of Pung Cholam by artistes of Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy, Imphal. Followed by this, will a Bharatanatyam performance by noted dancer and an Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar awardee Lakshmi Parthasarathy Athreya after which the young and dynamic Sangita Chatterjee will present a Kathak recital.

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The festival has always valued the educative component of arts and collaborated with various educational institutions for a wider youth outreach. This year, the festival has joined hands with Department of English, Gauhati University and Assam Down Town University. Distinguished scholar, columnist, Arshiya Sethi would deliver an illustrated talk on “Tightly Plaited: Relationship between Literature, Dance and Indian Dramaturgy” on January 31 at 11 am in Department of English, Gauhati University.

The evening sessions of the festival on January 31, in Sri Sri Madhavadeva International Auditorium at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra premises would feature invocation by students of Kalpavriksha – the performance and training unit of Kalpa at 5:00 pm. A film screening of a rare Sattriya Dance Documentary followed by a discussion with eminent masters of Sattriya Traditions, Bayanacharya Ghanakanta Bora (Padmashri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee) , Nrityacharya Jatin Goswami (Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna and Padmashri) . The session will be moderated by celebrated scholar   Professor Pradip Jyoti Mahanta. There will also be an interactive talk on “Sattriya’s Challenges in Enlarging Geographies” by Arshiya Sethi.

The concluding day of the festival, February 1, would commence with a lecture demonstration session in the morning hours in Assam Down Town University at 10:00 am. The evening session also has a series of interesting panel discussion and performances stored for the dance and music lovers. The evening session begins with a panel discussion on “Pay and Perform:  A Banal Trend in Indian Classical Dance Communities; Challenges & Perspectives” amidst eminent art personalities artistes, scholars and audience – Ashok Jain, Anita Sharma, Marami Medhi, Meernanda Borthakur and Shrinkhla Sahai from 5.00 pm onwards. After this Vinod Kevin Bachan from West Indies, a young lively dancer and disciple of well – known Odissi Guru, Ranjana Gauhar will perform Odissi. Dance enthusiasts will also witness Mohiniattam by renowned scholar, practitioner and Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Awardee, Methil Devika after the performance by Vinod Kevin Bachan. The concluding presentation will be a Sattriya recital by prominent dancer and researcher Anwesa Mahanta.

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This year, the Pragjyoti International Dance Festival has been hosted in association with Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra and Kri Foundation, with a support from Sangeet Natak Akademi, Oil India Limited, State Bank of India, Indian Oil, Gauhati University, Assam Down Town University, Life’s Purple and The News Mill.

Noted art scholar and Founder of Kri Foundation Arshiya Sethi in collaborating with Kalpa says, I see a global and local valence for the Pragjyoti International Dance Festival that is celebrating its eleventh year. While there is a civic churning all around us, the very fact that we can come together, for art, is not just part of our civic duty, but testifies to the adhesive power of art. Kri Foundation, a haven in the forefront of activism through the arts, is privileged to be associated once again with Kalpa as part of the Pragjyoti International Dance Festival.

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