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Pragjyoti International Dance Festival starts tomorrow

6th edition aspires to narrate Assamese history through classical dance


 The 6th edition of Pragjyoti International Dance Festival (PIDF), organized by Kalpa, starts tomorrow. Conceptualized to exhibit the wide range of India’s classical dance forms together on one platform to sing in unison and to celebrate the rich heritage of Assam, the six-day classical dance extravaganza will be held in Guwahati, Kaziranga and Sivasagar from 15th-20th February, 2014.

 The event is an annual feature by Kalpa society held in association with the Sivasagar District Administration, Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India, Assam Tourism Development Corporation Limited (ATDC), Directorate of Cultural Affairs (Govt of Assam) and Sub-Divisional Office- Bokakhat. The festival is powered by ERD Foundation.

 The 6th edition of Pragjyoti International Dance Festival will offer a tribute to the contribution of the 600-year-old Ahom rule towards society and culture of Assam and will be hosted in the cultural site of Siva Dol, Sivasagar sculpted and spaced by the aesthetic vision of the Ahoms. Through the dance movements and unique expression of a dancer’s language of the mind perceiving the world and its cosmos, the PIDF will communicate the gloried past of the Assam and the Ahom dynasty and momentous contribution of the kingdom towards Indian History.

 With this, Kalpa also attempts to introduce PIDF as the “Dance Festival” exploring the heritage sites of Assam, inviting renowned young exponents from Poland, Russia, Italy and various parts of India representing various classical dance forms like Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Manipuri, Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Sattriya.

 Also addressing to the need of the hour, the festival will speak up for the conservation of nature and preservation of rhinos, making the masses aware and rethink about the pertinent issues of the land and its natural resources by dedicating the evening of dance for the conservation of its pristine glory.

 Sattriya danseuse Anwesa Mahanta, Joint Secretary of Kalpa & Festival Director of PIDF says, “Since the past six years, PIDF has been striving towards building an interest for classical dance in the hearts of the youngsters of this region. This year, we want to address two issues that have been on the minds of many people of the region, and yet, were unable to express them for lack of a proper platform. PIDF is a festival of the people, carried forward over the years with their continued support and participation, and designed for highlighting the aspects of our vibrant culture and heritage. We want to use this platform as an opportunity to express our concern towards these issues”.

 Sankar Prasad Kakoti Bora, the Regional Director of Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Guwahati, said, “Kalpa, has been organizing the Pragjyoti International Dance Festival in association with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations of the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India, since 2009. Kalpa, under the leadership of Professor Pradip Jyoti Mahanta and Anwesa Mahanta, has been endeavouring to provide a platform for the promotion of young dance talent and also a space for social and cultural convergence.”  

 Besides the dance performances, Kalpa has also organized a series of interactive sessions, namely ‘Voices’, in three educational institutions in the city on the days of the festival. Through these sessions, the students will get an opportunity to learn and interact with the various classical dancers performing at the festival. These interactive sessions aim at creating awareness about the various classical dance forms of the country and to encourage more and more youngsters to take up these dance forms. The ‘Voices’ sessions will be held at Delhi Public School, Don Bosco Institute of Management and Regional Institute of Science and Technology on 15th, 16th, 17th February respectively.

 “Our dance festival is an attempt to promote the intangible heritage of classical arts among the younger generation.  Dance is an interdisciplinary area that requires a holistic appraisal of literature, philosophy, history, science, music, painting, sculpture, yoga, spirituality, religion, art and so on. Pragjyoti International Dance Festival, now in its sixth year, is one such attempt to showcase Indian classical dance with its holistic understanding of time, space and sound and the interpretations of human mind and body to the context of Assamese heritage, history and its nature”, says Anwesa. 

 While one of the greatest achievements of PIDF has been to develop interest about classical art traditions and its relevance in contemporary period amidst the young generations it has also maintained high standards by garnering the support and accolades of exponents of Indian dance at this annual dance fest.

 Appreciating the efforts of Kalpa, Anurag Singh (Managing Director – Assam Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.) comments, “Pragjyoti International Dance Festival is a vibrant festival with international renowned artists performing in Assam. It gives us an opportunity to promote our diverse culture and tourism. It’s a season’s gift of dance and tradition to the people”.


 (IN BOX) 

Festival Schedule

 The Pragjyoti International Dance Festival will be organized in Guwahati, Kaziranga and Sivsagar (in Assam) from 15th- 20th February, 2014. The festival has been divided into three stages:

 15th, 16th February, 2014 (Saturday and Sunday) at Rabindra Bhawan, Guwahati

18th February, 2014 (Tuesday) at Kaziranga National Park, Convention Hall

19th, 20th February, 2014 (Wednesday and Thursday) at Siva Dol, Sivasagar

 Performance Line-up

15th February 

         Gayan Bayan: Bhogpur Sattra, Majuli

         Odissi:  Sanatani Rombola (Italy) and Elena Knyazeva (Russia)

         Bharatanatyam: Renjith Babu and Vijna Vasudevan, Chennai

         Kathak: Disciples of Ms. Marami Medhi, Guwahati

 16th February

         Mohiniattam: Swapna Raju, Bangalore

         Kuchipudi: Sreelaksmy Govardhan, Kerala

         Sattriya: Lima Das, Guwahati

         Bharatanatyam: Aleksandra Michalska (Poland)

         Manipuri: Bibhul Kt. Sinha and his Group, Guwahati


19th February:

         Gayan Bayan: Bogiai Elengi Sattra, Titabor

         Odissi: Sanatani Rombola (Italy) and Elena Knyazeva (Russia)

         Bharatanatyam: Renjith Babu and Vijna Vasudevan, Chennai

         Kathak: Disciples of Ms. Marami Medhi


20th February:

         Mohiniattam: Swapna Raju

         Kuchipudi: Shreelaksmy Govardhan, Kerala

         Manipuri: Bibhul Sinha and his Group, Guwahati

         Bharatanatyam: Aleksandra Michalska (Poland)

         Sattriya: Dimpi Sonowal and Rimpi Sonowal, Guwahati

Published in The Sentinel on February 15, 2014




City all set for 5th Pragjyoti International Dance Festival

Magdalena Niernsee from Warsaw, Poland1

Magdalena Niernsee from Warsaw, Poland1

Come next week, the gateway city of Guwahati is all set to witness the myriad colours and hues of the entire spectrum of Indian dance traditions. Like all other years this year too, the stage is all set for the 5th edition of the much anticipated Pragjyoti International Dance festival – the sole such dance festival in this part of the country. The fifth edition of the festival is being presented by ‘Kalpa – A Society for Promotion of Literature, Art, Culture and Social Harmony’ in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India on February 9 and 10.

Talking about the festival, the event’s creative director and acclaimed Sattriya danseuse Anwesa Mahanta said, “The festival is an attempt to focus on these young devotees of Indian dance amidst the dilettante and academia of Pragjyotishpur and share with them the divine journey of aesthetic and spiritual joy. With a celebration of these young energies representing various Margi dance styles, the festival is also a humble tribute to all the masters of the Indian dance traditions who have been contributing immensely towards the panoramic beauty of Indian cultural heritage.”

Kalpa, which was established in the year 2008, started this festival of Indian dance traditions for the benefit of young dance exponents who have been selflessly dedicating their lives in pursuance of art.  Aimed at contributing towards integration and harmony through art, the Festival has received great accolades from the connoisseurs of Indian Arts all over and has been a space for social and cultural convergence. During the last four years dancers from different parts of India, as well as countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan, Russia, U.K, Ukraine, and U.S, as also from various parts of Assam have taken part.

anwesa mahanta

anwesa mahanta

Organised consecutively for the fifth year, the festival will feature exponents from France, Poland and diverse parts of the country. Panorama – the evening performance in the inaugural day of the festival will feature a Gayan Bayan recital led by Bayanacharya Ghanakanta Bora of Guwahati, which will be followed by a Kuchipudi recital by Gururaju from Bangalore, a Kathak recital by Magdalena Niernsee from Poland and Odissi performance by disciples of Garima Hazarika from Mitali Kala Kendra, Guwahati.

A number of events are also lined up for the second day i.e. February 10. The Panorama of the second day will feature Manipuri classical dance performance by R.K. Geetanjali from Imphal, Odissi recital by Chloe Romero from France, Bharatanatyam dance by Pavitra Bhatt from Mumbai, Kathak dance by Megharanjani Medhi from Guwahati and a Sattriya performance by disciples of Ms. Bhanu Sahariya from Youth Club, Mangaldoi.


A photo exhibition entitled “Reflections” will also be arranged in Rabindra Bhawan as part of the festival. With a view to inspire the young generation, Kalpa has also initiated a series of interactive sessions  – “Voices” – between the dancers and the students on 9th and 10th February, 2012 in the morning hours at Axom Jatiya Vidyalay and GEMS NPS International School respectively, informed Anwesa.

The festival is being organized with the support of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Big Fm (Radio Partner), Eclectic (Magazine Partner), and Oil India Limited (Co-Sponsor), Dainik Puroboday (Print Partner), Overnite Express, (Courier Partner)  BNAS, SMART Tank,  My Taxi, etc.

Open platform held as prelude to Guwahati International Dance Festival

The Pragjyoti International Dance Festival, which has been conceptualized to exhibit the major Indian Dance styles on a single platform and also to give an impetus to the talents of the region, kicked off in the Rabindra Bhavan on a grand note a couple of days back. The highlight of the inaugural function was a performance by noted danseuse Sonal Mansingh.

As a prelude to the International Dance Festival, Kalpa – the organizers – organized an open dance forum “Expressions” on 24th and 25th January, 2012 at Tirthanath Sarma Sabhaghar, Chandmari in order to reach out to more and more young minds.

Festival director Anwesa Mahanta said, “Indian Dance is a complete art that embraces not only the sculpturesque and stylized movements of body but also takes within its fold literature and philosophy along with music, painting, sculpture, histrionic art etc. The open dance forum was arranged to voice out the expressions and experiences of the young dance students and their approaches towards the discipline of dance and how the young minds perceive the philosophy of Indian Dance.”

Senior dance exponents Vijay Srivastav, Anu Basumatary, Anjanamoyee Saikia and Hari Saikia were the panellists in the open event. This workshop gave a scope to the students who have been seriously learning dance since their childhood to demonstrate and speak about their association and journey in the field of dance. Participants from various parts of the country belonging to the age group of 15-30 came and participated in this forum.

Elaborating on the concept of open forums, Anwesa Mahanta said, “It is a celebration of young energy representing various classical dance styles. While Trishneela Barkakati from Kalakshetra, Chennai, embraced dance as her life itself, Surajit Deb Burman from Santiniketan shared some of the hindrances which he had to face. It was nice to see how the artists went down the memory lane while illustrating their association of dance. There was also a lot of representation from Assam. Little star Kaushik Dutta from Nalbari amazed everyone with his clear movements and command over talas.”

The participants will be awarded with certificates at the conclusion of the festival today.