Khajuraho, Feb 23

A dance festival completely dedicated to the classical art form, Khajuraho Dance Festival not only welcomes Indian classical dance lovers but has opened gates to aspiring sculptors and artists within India and from foreign lands.

Besides enthralling the vast audience with dance performances by new or younger artistes, the 43rd edition of Khajuraho Dance Festival has set up an 'Art Mart' too at the venue. The mart has more than 1,200 works from India artists freedom all over the country and more than 40 international artists have put their creations on display.

"People started buying the art works because this festival is a promotional event for the government. So what happens is, there is a commission in the same from 30-40 per cent, but here we tell the artist that the government is taking care of your travel and stay and everything, so keep the artist's price," Anil Gayakwad, art curator at the Khajuraho Dance Festival told IANS.

"So work is cheaper here for the buyer. As of now there are 30 stages displaying the artists' work at the Art Mart. 1,250 works are here with 22 countries, 40 artists displaying their creations," Gayakwad added.

The festival which started on February 20, has the core dance performances starting in the evening with dancers from Bangladesh performing twice in the evening at their pavilion on the venue here.

The Bangladesh pavilion has also put up an exhibition conceptualised in four parts that includes 'Pata Chitra' or scroll paintings, depicting various cultural practices of Bangladesh, a photo exhibition about the rivers, a display of our major crafts and an exhibition about Bangladesh's efforts to revive Muslim art.

The pavilion also had the Baul singers perform here.

The dance fest which is being held next to the Khajuraho temples with one of them being the backdrop of the dance performances, has something for everyone.

Be it a Bundelkhandi food festival, handloom from different places available for people to buy or workshops by Chanderi and Khadi artisans where you can even help then in making a sari on the spot.

Under an old tree you will even get to see some pottery work displayed with a potter's wheel there for you to make something at the festival.

Besides that there are a number of stalls from where you can buy anything from Hyderabadi pearls to chikankari fabric to Chanderi saris to utensils made of clay for you to try organic cooking at home at super affordable prices.

In the evening you will also get to see a puppet show near the food stalls, which can keep you busy while you hog onto the scrumptious food.

The dance performances, which start later in the evening, have had artistes like Anuj Mishra (Kathak), Sanchit Bhattacharya (Odissi), Lavanya Shankar (Bharatnatyam), Sadashiv Pradhan ( Mayurbhanj Chhau) perform while artistes like Pallavi Krishan (Mohinattam), Gandhi Rai (Kuchipudi), Mansi Shyam and Anusna Devi (Manipuri Yugal) are yet to perform.

The festival will end on February 26.

(The writer's trip is at the invitation of Ustad Alauddin Khan Sangeet Evam Kala Academy. Kishori Sud can be contacted at Kishori.s@ians.in)

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