Natraj pandit Gopikrishna Jayanti Mahotsav, with its unique theme “Ummeed – For a better tomorrow” is going to be held on 17th, 18th and 19th August (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), at 6.30 pm sharp on the Facebook page of Kirti Kala Mandir, Nashik. The institute’s director, Aditi Nadgauda-Panse has added that the festival would be accessible free of cost, to ensure that this ray of hope reaches every enthusiast’s heart.
The monsoon rains are a symbol of joy all over Nashik, because they merrily bring us closer to Natraj Pandit Gopikrishna Jayanti Mahotsav, the world renowned dance festival organized by Kirti Kala Mandir, since 1994.
In its 27th successful year, this three-day classical dance festival never deters in its spirit; may it be a critical situation due to floods, looming examinations or this year’s exceptional lockdown. The festival aspires to achieve new cultural heights, with a feeling of humble gratitude and its evergreen enthusiasm.
Since last year, the reins of the festival have passed on to the next generation of disciples of Kirti Kala Mandir : the founder Guru Rekha Nadgauda having conferred its responsibility to her daughter Aditi Nadgauda-Panse and other young dancers under her wing.
The “Baal Kalakar Mahostav” organized last year was a successful first task by the new flank of Kirti Kala Mandir, and this year they have come up with a brand new concept – “Ummeed – For a better tomorrow.”
Needless to say, this theme has been inspired by the current ambiance of stagnancy, uncertainty, fear and hopelessness due to the numerous hardships we all are going through. During such times, art has always been that rare ray of sunshine, of hope into our lives, that urges us to keep going on, and to keep having faith in a brighter, better future.
The Natraj Pandit Gopikrishna Jayanti Mahotsav 2020, aims to pass on this message to us all. The ongoing lockdown and its many restrictions fail to imprison the energy and the force of creativity. Hence, this year the festival would be organized online, on 17th, 18th and 19th August 2020, at 6.30 pm, with an easy access worldwide on Facebook Live from the Kirti Kala Mandir’s official Facebook page.
“We, the artists at Kirti Kala Mandir have taken on a very optimistic perspective regarding the current situation, and have decided to bring the festival to you all, online” adds the senior Kathak exponent Aditi Nadgauda-Panse.
“This possibility is going to make the Jayanti Mahostav truly “global”, as connoisseurs, enthusiasts, and amateurs from all over the world, who wish to witness this festival can easily do so from the comfort of their own homes. We are extremely happy that the festival is going to reach every household this year.”
The inaugural performance on the 17th of August is going to be by the young Kathak exponent, a Nashikite by origin, Avani Gadre. She began her education in Kathak at the very young age of 4, under the capable and dynamic guidance of Aditi Nadgauda-Panse at Kirti Kala Mandir. Her inborn talent for dance, and an aptitude for rhythm and music was rightly gauged by her teacher.
While she was being groomed into a fine Kathak dancer, Avani participated as a lead dancer in many dance ballets and choreographies of Kirti Kala Mandir like Krishnayan, Bhaje Dnyandevam, Unity Ballet, Amhi Marathi, and Abhangwani. She even performed internationally in Mauritius as a part of the KKM troop.
Recipient of the junior artist scholarship by CCRT at the tender age of 11, she portrayed her talent in her first ever solo performance at the “Bal Mahostav” hosted by Kirti Kala Mandir as a part of Natraj Pandit Gopikrishna Jayanti Mahostav. After moving to Pune for higher studies, she continued her Kathak training under the tutelage of Pt. Shamatai Bhate. Under her experienced eye, Avani’s skills in classical dance gained a new finesse.
Today, she is an important part of all the productions by “Nadroop”, and has graced internationally acclaimed dance festivals like Khajuraho, Kalaghoda, and Natyanjali. Moreover, she has soared to new heights by mesmerizing audiences in countries like China, Korea, Israel, and Malaysia.
Avani Gadre is set to have another feather in her cap, on 17th August 2020, at 6.30 pm through Facebook Live on the official KKM page.
Each year, at least one male Kathak dancer gets the opportunity to charm the spectators on the prestigious stage of Jayanti Mahostav.
An able representative of the young generation of artists, Ayaan Banerjee is going to perform on the 2nd day of the festival, i.e on the 18th August 2020 (on Facebook Live). Ayaan trained in Kolkata under his guru Sandip Malik for 15 years after which his will and ambition for dance gave him the wings to go to Delhi, where he studied his art directly under the great Kathak stalwart Pt. Birju Maharaj.
Keeping true to his traditional roots, he tried to add a flair of modernity to his dance and for this he travelled to different countries like Germany, Russia and the United States to take formal training in contemporary dance. He even increased his scope of study to the particular and modern style of Pt. Udayshankar.
Along with a deep interest in music, Ayaan is also known to be talented journalist and designer. Based in Mumbai since the past 7 years, he has made his mark as an excellent teacher, dancer and choreographer. His remarkable gifts have recently been applauded with the “Nritya Ravi” award.
The third and final day of the festival this year is to be graced by the well-known London-based danseuse Urja Desai-Thakur, on the 19th August. She trained meticulously for 20 years under the able guidance of Guru Kumidini Lakhiya in Ahmedabad.
Extremely graceful and elegant in her movements, she has always amazed the spectators with her art. Her dance is a perfect mélange of tradition and modernity, and the precision in her “abhinaya” (expressions) has won hearts all over the world. She founded, “Pagarav” a dance institute in London in the year 2005.
Bahran, Tots, Anant, Within, Detox, Rahtrabhakti are some of her well appreciated choreographies. She took on the role of co-choreographer alongside her Guru Kumudini Lakhiya in the “Swapragat” dance festival organized by Akram Khan in 2009. The lead choreographer of the BBC Young Dancer competition, she even took on the responsibility of the Milton Kim’s dance festival as a director in the year 2012.
She has been propagating Kathak through “Pagarav”, her dance institute, and has been active in the training of young and capable dancers. In order to motivate young talent, Urja organizes a festival called “Utsav” in London.