Kerala’s artforms will take centre stage at Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa | 15-22 December 2018
>>One of the key objectives of the this unique Festival is to be a catalyst for cross-cultural exchange, fostering a sense of unity and erasing regional divisions in the country and offering equal opportunities to artists, artisans, indigenous and folk art forms, performers and other creative practitioners from all over India.
This year dance and theatre programmes will have a particular emphasis on Southern Indian arts and dance, curated by Chennai based Bharatanatyam exponent, choreographer, instructor and Padma Shri recipient Leela Samson, and Ranjana Dave, dancer and arts writer. The dance discipline at this year’s festival engages almost all traditional forms Indian dance, including folk. The interdisciplinary projects intend to explore the interrelationships between the performing and visual arts, venturing into alternate spaces, and emphasising gesture and the body.
One of the highlights of the performance projects will be a highly colourful Latin Christian classical art form of Chavittu Natakam in the performance Karalsman, curated by Leela Samson, Directed by Thampi Payyapilly (Ashan) and written by Chinna Thampi Annavi. Originating from 16th Century Kerala and initiated in Cochin, Gothuruth is generally considered to be the birthplace of Chavittu Nadakam. It is noted for its attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the rhythmic playback music and complementary percussion. The dance form is unique to Kerala and resembles Greek and European Opera. Chavittu Nadakam is most prevalent among the Latin Christian community in the districts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur.
Other must-see projects include To Die Upon a Kiss: An Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, led by Sadanam Balakrishnan, a Kathakali performance, based on the world famous tragedy this will platform one of the most prominent classical dance forms of India, Kathakali is characterised by elaborate make-up, face-masks and costumes. The characters will be presenting edited scenes of Shakespeare’s play, touching upon the broad themes of downfall, betrayal, and love. Lokapalanmare, a solo performance by Sadanam P.V. Balakrishnan is the first scene from the famous Kathakali play (Attakatha) Nalacharitham by the 18th-century playwright, scholar and poet, Unnayi Variar. The Nalacharitham, based on the Mahabharata, is a four-part play about King Nala and his consort Damayanti.
Karnatic Kattaikuttu, uniting Karnatic music with involving eminent musicians including TM Krishna and Kanchipuram based P. Rajagopal from Kattaikkuttu Sangam. An enthralling Kuchipudi performance by Jaikishore Mosalikanti and the troupe Kattaikkuttu dance in an exuberant collaborative performance, Abhanga Ranga, a presentation that captures the spirit of the Varkari saints of Maharashtra through the medium of Bharatanatyam, Nidravathwam from Adishakti Theatre arts presenting vignettes of the Ramayana, and Karalsman, the Chavittu Natakam performance will be performed for in Goa for the first time.
Music projects will include Revolutions Per Minute: Early Hindustani Music Recordings performed by Goan Musicians and curated by Aneesh Pradhan, one of India’s leading tabla players River Raag; a special project curated by classical singer Shubha Mudgal. Other programming highlights include My Colour On Your Plate, a visual arts exhibition curated by Subodh Gupta and featuring work by Anita Dube, curator of this year’s Kochi Biennale.
Artists from Kerala participating at this year’s event in Goa will represent almost all the disciplines and will include theatre and dance practitioners and visual artists from across the state.
I am delighted to curate the dance discipline for this year’s Serendipity Arts Festival with Ranjana Dave. The projects on display engage almost all the traditional forms of Indian dance, including folk – with an emphasis on dance from the south of the country. The Festival is a wonderful way for the public to experience India’s diverse arts heritage and we hope it will be a catalyst for cross-cultural exchange, fostering a sense of unity across the regions, said Leela Samson, Curator Dance Serendipity Arts Festival.