Catch top performers at Kalaa Utsavam

Kalaa Utsavam, the Indian Festival of Arts, is back again this year at the Esplanade to offer the audience a peek into the dynamic Indian arts scene.

From renowned dancer-choreographer Leela Samson's reinterpretation of bharatanatyam choreography to a music performance that sees acclaimed vocalist Shubha Mudgal bringing together elements of Indian classical, folk, jazz and popular music, this year's line-up of performances reimagines traditional art forms.

Said programming officer at the Esplanade Rajeswari Ramachandran: "The programmes this year showcase artistes who have reinvented classical dance and music forms and created their own signature. They are torchbearers of the evolving Indian arts scene."

The annual 10-day festival will take place from Nov 21 to 30 and comprises 18 ticketed and over 50 non-ticketed performances, encompassing music, dance and theatre.

This will be the first time Leela Samson's dance ensemble, Spanda, is performing in Singapore. It will present some of its most striking group and solo bharatanatyam works in Disha - A Vision.

Formed in 1995, Spanda has gained recognition for its innovation in bharatanatyam group choreography, as the dance form is mainly performed solo. This staging of the production features live music led by prominent vocalists Sriram Parasuram and Anuradha Sriram.

This year's Kalaa Utsavam also features three new works by Singapore artistes - like local odissi dancer-choreographer Raka Maitra's new dance theatre production The Blind Age, which is set on the last day of the battle of Kurukshetra and draws parallels from the Mahabharata to bring out contemporary issues.

For the young, the Esplanade has commissioned a new children's work for the festival. Called Once Upon a Peacock's Tail, it brings to life a Rajasthani folktale through music, dance, narration in English and live paintings.

Fans of the silver screen can look forward to two performances by pianist-composer Anil Srinivasan. In Roobaroo - 100 Years of Hindi Cinema, the artiste will take the audience on a musical journey of some of the most memorable Hindi film songs.

In Engeyum Eppodhum - 100 Years of Tamil Cinema, the audience can look forward to favourite Tamil film songs. The performances will also feature playback singer Saindhavi, flautist Vijay Gopal and percussionist Krishna Kishore.

There are also free programmes to check out. On the opening weekend, India's Ramchandra Pulavar Tholpavakoothu Troupe will perform Tholpavakoothu: Shadow Puppetry of Kerala, which showcases shadow puppetry that is unique to Kerala.

On the following weekend, world music band Maati Baani performs a unique blend of Hindustani classical, folk and contemporary music.

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