Global dancers join Indian legends at Mahabalipuram

DC | J.V. SIVA PRASANNA KUMAR
Published Jan 6, 2014, 3:02 pm IST
Updated Jan 20, 2016, 3:22 pm IST
Effective marketing strategy sees this festival get increasing patronage.
Padma Lakshmi Suresh performs for thousands of local and foreign rasikas near shore temple at the month long Mahabalipuram dance festival.
 Padma Lakshmi Suresh performs for thousands of local and foreign rasikas near shore temple at the month long Mahabalipuram dance festival.

Mamallapuram: The cool breeze, the frolicking waves and the silhouette of the ancient Shore Temple - the quintessence of the historical Mamallapuram is the perfect background for spending winter evening hours blissfully watching the graceful movements of Indian classical dancers and racy folk dancers.

The motley crowd of audience who also comprise a large number of foreigners forget the nippy weather and their worries, perhaps, and intently watch Bha­rat­anatyam, Kuchi­pudi, Kathak, Odissi and the folk dances of Tamil Nadu.

 

But, this time, the Indian classical dance festival being organised by the state tourism department has a few foreigners performing Bharatanatyam at the open-air auditorium. Madhoerie, who led the troupe from Netherlands, had learnt Bharatanatyam in Bengaluru and she returned to Netherlands to set up a dance school.

Sa­dhana and Sheranie from Surinam and Jade, Leonie and Surayada from Neth­erlands who were among those who performed, won spontaneous applause.The festival, which would conclude on January 5, is being held daily from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm.

But, interestingly it was the spectacular performance of Gopika Verma’s Mohiniattam, Poornima Ashok’s Bharatanatyam and Aruna Mohanty’s Odissi that virtually stole the show at the fabled Mahabalipuram through their effective depiction of three most powerful wo­men characters of Ind­ian mythology - Sitadevi, Ra­dha and Draupadi. The audience was mesmerised.

Though we expected to wind up the programme by 8.30 pm, the dancers who we­re so much engrossed in th­eir work that they perfo­rmed for about an hour mo­re. The audience did not mo­ve away from the venue. Th­ey sat till about 9.30 pm, unmindful of the cold we­at­her, and this apparently in­dicates the extent of re­spect and interest for the In­­dian classical dances, a se­­nior tourism official said.

The popularity of Mamallapuram, the effective marketing strategy of the department, the Shore Temple, monuments and its proximity to Chennai, make this dance festival not only unique but also wi­tnesses increasing pat­ro­nage from regional, nat­ional and global audiences.

Over 44,68,123 visitors, including 3,90,642 foreigners, had visited Mamall­ap­uram up to October-end of 2013, as per figures available with the tourism department. During 2012 about 43,35,350 domestic tourists and 4,60,282 foreigners visited this historic spot. “We are set to exceed these figures this year,” the official said.

The serene town is also set to witness more amenities soon. The tourist reception centre, which was recently upgraded at a cost of `30 lakh, will be inaugurated soon.

Location: Tamil Nadu




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