Dance of India@75: First-of-its-kind Virtual Classical Dance Festival

Dance of India@75 was hosted by The Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) to provide a platform for young talents in classical dance, left without avenues to perform during the pandemic

A four-day virtual classical dance competition was organised by the Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD), probably the first of its kind in the country. Titled Dance of India@75, the event was held from July 22 onwards, with all aspects of the festival, from the registration to the judging process, done online. The primary aim of the fest was to help the struggling artist community of India who are left without avenues to perform and consequently few sources of income, owing to the pandemic.

The festival invited entries from eight classical dance forms of India – Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Odissi, Sattriya and Kathakali. Participants from all over India submitted video entries of their performances on the themes provided – Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Vishwaguru Bharat and Unsung Heroes of India.

The jury consisted of a list of celebrated names from various fields of art – Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Dr Padma Subramanian, Dr Vinay Sahastra Buddhe, Manoj Joshi and Papon. While Pritam Das, Lekha Prasad and Atrrayee Chowdhury won the first, second and third prizes in the solo category, Harekrushna, Ashwini and Aishwarya were announced the winners in the group category. First prize winners were awarded Rs 100,000 and Rs 125,000 for the solo and group categories respectively, with the runners-up too receiving cash prizes. Shortlisted entries were streamed live on www.danceofindia.com, across the website’s social pages, OTT platforms and on TV channels.

Supporting classical art forms 

Delhi based CICD or the Shri Kamakhya Kalapeeth was founded in 1977 by Padma Vibhushan Dr Sonal Mansingh, with an aim to promote Indian classical dance forms. Over the years, the Centre has conducted dance, music and theatre events featuring some of the greatest artists of India.

Dance of India@75 was organised to kick off the 75th year of India’s Independence, 2022. It provides an affordable platform for young talents in dance, said Dr Sonal Mansingh. “Performing artists of India are one of the worst-hit by the pandemic. CICD felt that it is high time they developed new modes of presentation for the art forms while retaining their originality and classical nature”, she added.   

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