DUBAI // Utsavam 2008 will bring more than 40 hours of traditional dance and art from the Indian region of Kerala, beginning today. Thiranottam, a non-profit group based in Dubai, is organiser for the festival, which art lovers said was a huge success last year. The organisers said one of the highlights this year would be a performance of the ancient Kathakali, a dance-drama routine in which the performer, painted in bright colours and dressed in flowing costumes, uses hand-eye gestures and dance to tell the story. Other performances in the festival would include Thayampaka, an ensemble of drummers; beginners' lectures on Kathakali; and Chakyaar Koothu, probably the forerunner of stand-up comedy, with a revered form of storytelling laced with humour.
Legendary performers including Padmabhushan Kalamandalam Ramankutti Nair, Kalamandalam Gopi, Sadanam Krishnan Kutty, Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan, Ammannoor Kuttan Chakkyaar and 16 other artists will unite for the first time in Dubai. "It will be a rare opportunity to enjoy the Kerala arts in their truest form performed by legends in their respective fields," organisers said in a written statement. The festival will start at 11am. Venu Rajamony, consul general of India, will preside over the opening ceremony with K Mohandas, chief secretary to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
The performances will be held at the Dubai Indian Consulate hall. firstname.lastname@example.org