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Celebrating talent both in and away from  the spotlight, Youth In Dance kicks off on Sunday

There is more to dance than stage performances, says Bharatanatyam dancer, Janani Murali Jayanth.“There are many researching the text and grammar of dance, and its allied fields. But how often do we see a dance festival that highlights any of their works, or the academic angle of dance?,” she asks.
That’s where Youth In Dance fest — initiated by her mother, Padma Murali’s institute, Padmalaya Dance Foundation — has carved a niche for itself in the city’s cultural scene. It showcases stage performers, as well as talks and discussions by academicians engaged in the discourse of dance, and arts. In its fourth year now, the event will feature classical dance recitals by six young talents picked from across the city. While the annual fest is open to all forms of classical dance, this year, coincidentally, all the shortlisted candidates have a background in Bharatanatyam.

Talk and learn
The dance fest, scheduled for Sunday, will begin with talks by DV Prasanna Kumar and Dr Vasanth Kiran. While the former, a percussionist, will discuss his work on the topic ‘Creating a universal code for scripting dance’, the latter, the HoD of performing arts at Alliance University, will highlight the connection between the fields of arts and management.
The 31-year-old Jayanth, who runs the institute along with her mother, and sister-in-law, Poornima Kaushik, shares, “In past editions, a young singer presented his music composition purely for dance. Composing a song for dance is different from developing a lyrically beautiful piece for the purpose of singing. Some had presented a dance demo by blind children, and discussed their methodology. Then, we also had a session about the use of yoga in dance movements.”

Digging deeper
Jayanth understands the value of research. She is a qualified biologist, has worked in the field of vaccine development, and helps medicos in publishing research papers. Between looking after her daughter, Sahasra, and managing the academy, she is also studying psychology. “That’s a prerequisite for my PhD on ‘Dance Therapy’. I am trying to understand how dance techniques can heal autism, or mental illnesses, for example.”
She also wants to document the Kannada tradition of Bharatanatyam. “Many dance forms were developed inside temples, but this one was developed at the courts of the kings. So it has different influences,” she explains.
Meanwhile, her sister-in-law teaches storytelling to children through dance. “And my mother? Well, she has performed to her heart’s content, and taught a thousand children. So curating this fest is her way of giving back to the art,” concludes Jayanth.
June 12. At Alliance Francaise, Vasanthnagar. Entry free.
4.30 pm. Details: 9845421009

— Barkha Kumari

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