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First Latin American Congress of Indian classical dance
Images courtesy: Natalia Salgado

March 16, 2021

For the first time in history, a Latin American Congress of Indian classical dance was conducted on 5th, 6th and 7th of March 2021.  It was 100% virtual and free. This initiative was delivered by the Indian Cultural Center, Güngur, Buenos Aires in Argentina with the support of the Indian Embassy and the Indian Ministry of Culture.

The three-day congress had a total of 19 sessions with presence of masters, dancers and artistes from Chile, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, India and Argentina. We had the esteemed presence of V.P. Dhananjayan, Sujata Mohapatra and Kishore Mosalikanti who inspired more than 2000 participants from all over the world.

Myrta Barvié

The congress started with initial words from Ambassador Dinesh Bhatia and continued with the participation of V.P. Dhananjayan who gave tribute to the great Myrta Barvié, pioneer of Indian classical dance in South America who passed away on May 15, 2020.  During this session, Dhananjayan described the years and experiences when he and Myrta studied together at Kalakshetra in Chennai.

The first day of the congress continued with creative sessions such as ‘Fitness for dance’ by Pratibha Kini from Bangalore, the experience of Sofía Gonzalez Herrador being an Argentinean studying in Kalakshetra, a class of taala by Karunamrta from Chile, an abhinaya “Kripa Samudram” by Krishna Sharana from Brazil and the teaching of a Trikaala Jathi by the school Gopesvara from Peru.

The second day started with a class on dance history by the Indian Bharatanatyam artistes Mahalakshmi Prabhakar and Aranyani Bhargav. It continued with an Odissi master class delivered by the eminent Sujata Mohapatra and continued with classes of Mohiniyattam by Irani Cippiciani from Brazil, Kathakali by Annur Raga from Argentina, a class on ‘Healing Dance’ by María Laura Valdéz from Peru and it finished with a live performance to pay tribute to Guru Ranga Vivekanandan, disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam who started the first school of Kuchipudi in Argentina 20 years ago.

The third day had the presence of Kishore Mosalikanti who gave a lecture on ‘The beauty of Kuchipudi’. It continued with a master class of Mayurbhanj Chhau by Carolina Prada from Colombia, followed by a “Mudra” session by Andrea Albergaria from Brazil. Nestor Dharmesh from Argentina taught a class of introduction to Kathak and in the last class, Patricia and Iara Romano from Brazil explained the difference between South Indian dance styles. The Congress concluded with a Forum in which perspectives and issues that we as Latin Americans face being artistes of an ancient art form were discussed. The closure was a live performance of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi presented at Güngur with presence of Ambassador Dinesh Bhatia.

This Congress was the beginning of a union between countries and art lovers of Indian classical dance.

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