'Youth Fest' dancers not on par with professionals: Expert

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Kochi, Dec 29 (UNI) Noted Mohiniyattam performer Deepti Omcherri Bhalla said those learning one or two dance items for events like 'youth festivals' should not be put on the same footing with professional dancers.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, she said comparing such dancers with those who had devoted ten to 15 years to learn and perform classical dance was ''unfair''.

Ms Deepti, who had switched to Mohiniyattam from 'Kathakali' in 1978, said the ''limited repertoire'' of Mohiniyattam had prompted her to undertake a research to widen the ambit of her performances.

''I could discover several pieces, including those by Swathi Thirunal, which a non-Keralite audience could connect with,'' she said.

Describing this as her contribution in popularising Mohiniyattam in North India, Ms Deepti said the people were now quite aware of this dance form, unlike earlier when 'Bharatnatyam' was the only southern classical dance form which was popular in the north.

About the therapeutic effect of dance, Ms Deepti said she would present a paper on the subject at a seminar, aided by the Sangeet Natak Akademi in Delhi next month.

Ms Deepti, who recently opened a classical arts teaching institute in Delhi called 'Trikala Gurukulam', said getting a positive response from the audience went a long way in encouraging youngsters to pursue dance.

The dancer, who is also a carnatic vocalist, said it was important for dancers to have a musical base as this made a lot of difference to the performances.

Ms Deepti, who had done shows all over the Europe, West Asia and South-East Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, said she found the audiences in Germany very receptive.


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