International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Festival, a first-of-its-kind event, organized by Elan Ballet, in collaboration with Romanian choreographer Valentin Bartes, concluded at the Kamani Auditorium in the Capital on 15 December. Over 45 artistes from India, Italy and Japan came together to showcase scintillating performances to over 600 attendees, in an endeavour to raise the exposure and performance standards of Indian dancers.
Aimed at bridging the gap between India and rest of the world, in terms of ballet and contemporary dance forms, the inaugural edition of this unique festival brought together dancers from across the globe on to a common floor.
The festival opened its curtains with The Dance of the Drum from the Ballet La Bayadere, performed by Élan Ballet (India) and Iwata Ballet Academy (Japan). Choreographed by Valentin Barnes after Marius Petipa, the dancers ~ Madhyama Segal, Kanika Sharma, Himanshi Karol, Yogesh Rajput, Narayan Sharma, Laxman Chauhan and Koji Iwata ~ expressed their talent in tune with the music of Ludwig Minkus. Following the introductory performance, Laila Lovino of Equilibrio Dinamico Dance Company (Italy) took over the stage with the contemporary solo Sacred Geometry, choreographed by Roberta Ferrara.
The evening’s programme then moved on to a Jazz routine, choreographed by Hemant Kumar Bidawat and performed by Élan Ballet’s Aman Bansal, Anuj Setia, Anandita Dua, Madhyama Segal and Kanika Sharma. The contemporary solo My father, by Sarita Mastromarcon, was a treat to watch followed by another solo Le Corsaire, a variation of the Ballet le Corsaire, performed by Miri Orido of Iwata Ballet Academy (Japan) and choreographed by Yukiko Iwata after Marius Petipa, to the original music by Adolphe Adam. Another contemporary piece Monday,choreographed by Élan Ballet’s Rakshit Arora was brought to life on stage.
The highlights of the evening were excerpts from The Nutcracker, performed in two parts, before and after the interval, through a collaborative effort from Élan Ballet and Iwata Ballet Academy. Diverse pieces ~ Arabian Dance, Sugar Plum Fairy, Spanish Dance and Russian Dance ~ from the second Act of the classic ballet was choreographed by Ritika Chandra and Yukiko Iwata after Marius Petipa.
Keep in Touch, a contemporary piece choreographed by Equilibrio Dinamico Dance Company’s (Italy) Roberta Ferrara, saw dancers Laila Lovino, Federica Fazzini, Sarita Mastromarco, Angelica Calabrese, Francesca Chiatante, and Nicole Cappella on stage. A contemporary solo Yours Truly, choreographed by Kerry Lynn Turner for Iwata Ballet Academy (Japan) was performed on stage by Azuza Kishida. The penultimate act of the evening was a contemporary Ballet Going Beyond, choreographed by Rithika Chandra.
The phenomal dance fest concluded with Grand Pas de Deux from the Ballet La Bayadere (meaning The Temple Dancer or The Temple Maiden), which tells the story of the Bayadère Nikiya and the warrior Solor, who have sworn eternal fidelity to one another. This ballet was originally staged in four Acts and seven tableaux by French choreographer Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. The evening’s choreography by Valentin Bartes had Iwata Ballet Academy dancers perform a scene from Act 3 known as The Kingdom of the Shades. The festival rung down its curtains with this celebrated excerpt from the classical ballet, leaving the audience mesmerized by the dance form.
Elan Ballet, spearheaded by its Artistic Director Ritika Chandra, aims at providing not only a base for budding and professional ballet dancers, but for other artists as well, to achieve new heights in their respective dance forms. The main objective of this company is to provide dancers in India a solid platform through which they can train and perform both within the country and abroad. The company also provides support in applying for scholarships abroad.