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Hemantika Festival 2017: A review

We were Hemantika Festival 2017 was \

“The performance of Maharajiji was marked by naturalism, playfulness and majesty” Pulse Connects, Winter 2017 Most of you will be well aware that last year's Hemantika Festival was bigger and better than ever, the highlight being of course, the presence of living Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj. The festival ran from the 9th to the 12th of November in Barcelona and then continued in London from the 13th through to the 20th. The packed programme included workshops, masterclasses, performances, an audience with Pandit Birju Maharaj and the European leg of the Kalashram Kathak Competition. SBDC dancers performed in both Barcelona and London and participated in the masterclasses and workshops. The Festival finale featured performances by Pandit Birju Maharaj and other notable Kathak exponents: Saswati Sen, Fasih Ur Rehman and Sujata Banerjee, whose performance, reviewed in Pulse Connects, was described as an “engrossing solo depicting the attempted disrobing of Draupadi”. This year's festival built on the success of last year's inaugural event and was so well received by participants, performers and audiences alike, that as concluded in Pulse Connects: “...only 2 years in [it] can only grow from such promising beginnings”.

Hemantika Festival 2017:

Pandit Birju Maharaj is the fifth generation of the legendary Maharaj family of Kathak dancers and has been widely recognised and felicitated for his contribution to both classical and Bollywood dance. His family home in Lucknow has been instated as the country’s official Kathak museum.

Barcelona: Thursday 9 - Sunday 12 November 2017

London: Monday 13 - Monday 20 November 2017

The highlight of this year's festival is the attendance of world renowned Kathak exponent Pandit Birju Maharaj, known as 'the living legend of Kathak'.

 

Pandit Birju Maharaj is the fifth generation of the legendary Maharaj family of Kathak dancers and has been widely recognised and felicitated for his contribution to both classical and Bollywood dance. His family home in Lucknow has been instated as the country’s official Kathak museum.

Pandit Birju Maharaj will be involved in various aspects of the festival. In London these include: 

The various strands of the Festival offer: performance opportunities for young artists; education and community workshops; high-calibre mentoring and training to inspire the next generation; commissioning new ground-breaking work; showcasing the very best of Kathak and attracting wider audiences. Each of these is invaluable to the development of talent within Kathak in the UK, and the art form itself.

 

The energy and buzz of a week long celebration of this ancient Indian dance and the exchange of cultures and ideas surrounding it, might just be the ideal way to spend the last few days of autumn, or as Tagore called it, Hemantika.