Of Monks and Martial Arts

This year's Delhi International Arts Festival promises an array of performances from 30 countries

On November 8, as eight dancers in traditional Odissi garb will take their positions on the stage at Kamani Auditorium, the notion of time will become a warped, multi-dimensional frame. Time will be seen as a cosmic phenomenon, an eternal cycle of creation and destruction the kaal chakra. It could also take the form of the "perennial now".

An Italian who has made Bhubaneshwar her home for 30 years, Odissi and Chhau dancer and choreographer Ileana Citaristi will create the 45-minute mirage through her abstract Odissi piece titled Kaala: Time bound, which will premier in Delhi as part of the sixth edition of Delhi International Arts Festival (DIAF) that will kick off on October 27.

Conceptualised and directed by Pratibha Prahlad, the festival is in collaboration with ICCR and the Prasiddha Foundation, which Prahlad runs, and involves acts such as performances, theatre, comedy and puppetry among others. "This is where India meets the world. DIAF introduces multiple art forms and invites artistic practices from around the world," says Prahlad, "We're non-judgemental about their art and the experimentations they bring about. It's unusual, varied and fantastic," she added.

The line-up of artistes involve some from 30 countries, with rather interesting acts from India. While from Imphal's Chorus Repertory comes King of the Dark Chamber, a theatre performance directed by Ratan Thiyam who runs the repertory, Delhi's Neemrana Music Foundation will bring with it some opera and choir music. "Among other pieces, the 20-25-member choir is also going to perform L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love), an opera by Gaetano Donezetti, and a few pieces by Bach," says Antoine Redon, executive producer and coordinator at the foundation. Another anticipated performance comes from Mumbai-based ghazal artiste of Senia gharana, Roshan Bharti who has performed with the likes of Mehdi Hassan and Jagjit Singh, and has found an audience in Ghulam Ali.

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