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Dancers from Kerala to enchant the Paris Festival goers

Dancers from Kerala to enchant the Paris Festival goers

Seasoned and young dancers from Kerala disembark in Paris for the 14th Festival de l'Imaginaire to enchant the French public.


Festival de l'Imaginaire 2010

The Festival de l'Imaginare is currently on in Paris from March 3rd- April 23rd, 2010. It is an annual event organised by the Maison des Cultures du Monde (World Cultural House). The mission of the festival is to rediscover the treasure of cultural heritage of different countries with artists presenting their creations or classical repertories in traditional forms.


In addition to the representation by the Southern state of Kerala through their dances, the Tibetan Buddhist monks of the Nechung monastery of Dharamsala from the Northern state of Himachal Pradesh will offer the spectators a peek into their ritual ceremonies and prayers at the National Opera of Bastille.

The troupe of Krishnanattam from the Guruvayur Temple of Thrissur district of Kerala is in Paris for the festival with their shows- Krishnanattam- Ritual Theatre of Kerala and Krishnanattam- Classical Dance of Kerala. Out of the total 8 episodes presented in Krishnattam, 6 will be presented during the festival: Avatharam (Birth of Krishna), Kaliyamardanam (defeat of Kaliya), Rasakreeda (Krishna and the Gopis) , Kamsavadham (the assassination of Kamsa), Swayamvaran (the marriage) and Banayudham (the war against Bana). The remaining two episodes are 'Vividha vadham' (assassination of Vividha), and "Swargarohana" (ascension to heaven).



Krishnanattam © Pepita Seth


For the uninitiated, Krishnanttam is a traditional temple dance form of Kerala where the artists relate various episodes from Krishna's life through elaborate dance and music. Colourful masks and make-up are used for the characters. The dancers focus on skilful hand and body gestures and expressions. Narration and playing of musical instruments are done by other artists. Krishnanattam is based on Manavedan's (1595-1658) KrishnaGeethi (or song of Krishna) much like Jayadev's (12th century) Geet Govinda.


Kalamandalam Leelamma

Kalamandalam Leelamma © Tulassi
 Kalamandalam's two master artists of Mohiniattam- Leelamma and Kshemavathy- will take the spectators on a journey to Hindu mythology through their show Masters of Mohiniattam- Classical Dance of India. Much like Krishnanttam, Mohiniattam (sometimes, spelt Mohiniyattam) is a classical dance form from Kerala and derives from Hindu mythology where the dance is performed in graceful body movements and gestures (attam) to enchant (mohini). The object is usually the enchating of Krishna or Vishnu as Mohini.


To the South-West of Paris, in the city of Vitré in Bretagne, the festival takes us to an Exhibition- Shadows of Ramayana. The figurines representing characters from the Indian epic tale of Ramayana will be on exhibit. Centuries back, the legend of Ramayana traversed the countries of South-East Asia (Indonesia, Cabodia, Laos, Thailand...) and now forms an integral part of their culture as much as it is for Indians. In Indonesia, the story is told through the shadow puppet theatre called Wayang Kulit. The figurines are made of leather, cut and refined in a traditional art form. The theatre of Wayang Kulit is termed by UNESCO as a cultural heritage


Official website of the Festival de l'Imaginaire 2010