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When the International Dance Festival 2008 organised by German choreographer Pina Bausch kicks off this month, it will feature just one Indian dancer. Arushi Mudgal (in the picture), 22, daughter of vocalist Madhup Mudgal, will be the first Indian to feature in this prestigious festival's roster. A sociology student, Mudgal switched to a correspondence course in her final year to focus on dance. "I practise almost every waking hour," says Mudgal.
She grew up in the rich cultural atmosphere of Gandharva Mahavidyala, the institute founded by her grandfather Pt Vinay Chandra Maudgalya in 1939. The piece that Bausch wants Mudgal to perform is her self-choreographed Bageshri, a series of pure dance movements that have no literal meaning or narration. "It is a very strenuous piece that requires minute attention to detail as well as stamina and energy," she says, before adding that it was her first choreographed piece, so it's all the more special.
Her performance in the German festival on November 16 will be followed by several performances in India and will culminate with her first visit to Pakistan in December. "Apart from the chance to take Indian culture abroad, foreign performances are also rewarding because all the tickets fly off months before the show. It's a wonderful experience," she says, stressing that Indian traditional culture will always find some admirers among the youth.
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