Bhubaneswar hosts all male Indian classical dance festival

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Bhubaneshwar, Jan 28 (ANI): Be it Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi or Kathak, it is no secret that Indian classical dance is a major crowd puller.

There is, however, a perception that women only perform these dances.

The centuries-old dances of India have long been dominated by the fairer sex, but in Bhubaneswar, one man is trying to change that.

Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, a famous Odissi dancer and the force behind the Marga Darshana dance festival, is putting the spotlight back onto the male dancer.

The festival has been organized by SRJAN, Mohapatra's dance institute.

"The God of dance is male, but still it's always been very rare that you have a male dance festival and they're doing this wonderful festival that only showcases male dancers so it's been a great honour," said Praveen Kumar, a Bharatnatyam dancer.

This all male dance festival started on Wednesday (January 27) with performances of various classical dances.

"We saw Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Kathak, which are three other major forms of Indian classical dance and also pretty masculine in nature," said Rahul, an audience member.

The festival attracted dance fans from across the globe.

"It's nice, it's a treat, like something special, to be able to see only male dancers," said Megan, an American tourist.

Indian classical dance is regarded as an umbrella term used for forms rooted in Natya, a sacred Hindu musical theatre, which can be traced back to 400 BC.

There are three predominant styles: Agama Nartanam, Carnatakam and Darbari Aattam.

Agama Nartanam were performed as part of rituals in temples while Carnatakam entertained a more highbrow and intellectual audience in the royal courts.

The last is the Darbari Aattam, which educated the public on religion, culture and social life.

The Marga Darshana dance festival ends on Friday. By Sharada Lehangir (ANI)

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