Dance is one of the oldest performing art forms and its history can be traced as far back as the Neolithic period. Dance has been a medium of expression and communication. It is believed that dance predated writing as a form of communication. Dance was used to pass on stories from generation to generation and many of these are alive in the dance forms of the world. India with its rich diversity in all fields also has a shining array of Indian dance forms that shine like a galaxy of stars on the Indian firmament.
Dance festivals are a great way to keep our ancient dances throbbing and alive. Some of the dance festivals that one cannot afford to miss and which transport one to a different plan of enjoyment are listed here.
Khajuraho Dance Festival
One of the most colourful and vibrant dance festivals in India is the Khajuraho Dance Festival that is held every year in the month of February. The dance festival is a celebration of Indian dance and sees dances from across the country being performed. The fact that the backdrop for the scintillating dance performances is the exquisitely carved temples of Khajuraho makes this festival really special. The festival stretches for seven days and provides a stellar opportunity to enjoy dances from various parts of the country in one place. The Khajuraho Dance Festival happens at Khajuraho in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Konark Dance Festival
Another dance festival that happens in February against the impressive backdrop of a historic temple and site in India is the Konark Dance Festival. The Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and situated in Konark in Orissa. The temple is a marvel of engineering and architecture. But come February the site erupts into brilliance and the historic site resonates with music and the rhythm of dance. The festival showcases the best of Indian dance and includes dance performances of Odissi, Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, among others. The festival also is a forum to learn about the handicrafts of the region as well as indulge one’s’ senses with the best of the cuisines of India.
Hampi Dance Festival
The ruins of Vijayanagar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka. The stones and rocks tell a story of a glorious chapter in history, of a kingdom that flourished years ago. The rocky ruins serve as an intriguing backdrop for the Hampi Dance Festival that is organized every year during the months of October-November. As winter cools the rocks of the ruins, the melody of music and the rhythm of dance creates a mesmerizing aura around the place. Various local dance forms as well as classical dances are performed during the festival. In addition to dance and music, fireworks and puppetry shows are also held. The Hamp Dance Festival is sure to enthral visitors to the place during the festival.
Shiva is the King of Dance and as Nataraja is one of the most enduring and popular iconography of Hinduism. The Natyanjali Festival is a dance festival that is held in honour of the Nataraja form of Shiva. It is appropriate that the venue of this dance festival happens to be the temple dedicated to Nataraja in Chidambaram. The temple’s gateway has the 108 poses of Bharatnatyam carved on it and makes for a magnificent backdrop to the dancing tribute paid to the King of Dance. The festival is held during the Mahashivratri festival. Chidambaram is a very popular and sacred pilgrimage centre situated in the state of Tamil Nadu.
These are only few of the dance festivals from an astounding array of dance festivals that dot the Indian calendar. These festivals are sure to transport you to the heights of ecstasy with their rhythm and melody. These dance festivals help not only in encouraging and nurturing our performing arts and culture but also serve as a confluence of the different aspects of Indian culture and performing arts. Next time you plan a trip, make sure you visit one of these places to experience the mesmerising dances performed here. Also, do not forget to complement your vacation with a memorable stay at Sterling for an enjoyable time.