The 2019 edition of the Natyanjali dance festivals will unfold from March 4, the day of Shivaratri.
The Natyanjali is a unique phenomenon of dance festivals being organised in temples, both big, well-known and small across Tamil Nadu - a trend that started after the small but unique effort that state government officials and arts promoters hosted at the Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram some four decades ago.
This practice at Shivaratri time has spread and continues to do so as more and more temples dedicated to lord Shiva host a celebration - some very simple, one-evening events featuring local dancers and students of dance schools.
The big fests take place in Chennai, Chidambaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchi, Kumbakonam and Nagapattinam.
Chidambaram has been for some years now, hosting two festivals; the private Trust that held the fest in the temple yard for over three decades was booted out by a group led by the temple priests, and they now host a dance fest inside.
While the Trust holds its fest at a private campus. This year, this fest runs from Feb 28 to March 4.
The buzz is that the hosts of the fest run inside the temple seeks registration fees/donations from artistes who wish to perform here. The fest itself is a pedestrian affair.
One of the best-run dance fests in a temple has been displaced and the successor is a pathetic show.
Elsewhere, Padma Subrahmanyam and her team at Nritodaya, Chennai curate and organise festivals through local teams at the following places in Tamil Nadu - 1. Natyanjali trust Chidambaram 2. Nagapattinam 3. Thirunallar 4. Thiruthuraipoondi 5. Thiruveezhimizhalai 6. Vaitheeswarankoil and at 7. Vedaranyam.
At many temples, the recitals begin at about 6 p.m. and go on till midnight even as people stream in to pray and take part in the rituals.
The schedules of the Natyanjali at some places is posted at www.kutcheribuzz.com. Look for the link on the far right.