When #sghaze ruined our picnic plans on Sunday evening, we returned to The Esplanade for Octoburst!: A Children’s Festival. This annual festival stages free and ticketed performances and offers workshops for children of all ages and their caregivers.
We caught “Dance Expressions” by dancers from Chowk, an Odissi dance company founded by Raka Maitra. Under Maitra’s artistic direction, Chowk has developed a movement vocabulary grounded in Odissi and complemented by other Asian physical training styles including Seraikela Chau and Kalari Payattu. Chowk’s professional dance company’s seasonal productions aim to expand the genre of Indian dance beyond dichotomies of classical and contemporary.
On Sunday, the young dancers from Chowk performed traditional Odissi dance pieces such as Mangalacharan, an invocatory piece to the elephant god, Lord Ganesha, as well as stories from the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of animal fables.
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Octoburst! impressed me through and through and I wish we had made time for more performances, both paid and ticketed, and a workshop or two. I won’t make the same mistake in 2015!