Two local dance schools are organizing a massive virtual dance festival called Natyanjali 2021 on Dec 18, 2021 (Saturday).

The event, which will take place between 4pm and 6pm via Zoom, will see the participation of more than 2,000 Bharatanatyam dancers around the world, aiming to break a Guinness World Record for the most number of participation through an online platform.

Natyanjali 2021 is a collaboration between two local dance schools, namely the Vehaara Arts & Dakshra Fine Arts, who wanted to hold an event akin to the Natyanjali annual dance festival held in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, India.

Vehaara Arts founder and artistic director Kunaratnam Velautham said he, along with Dakshra Fine Arts principals Mohanapriya Govindapillai and Hanusha Prakash, had initially planned to hold Natyanjali 2021 at the I-City temple in Shah Alam, Selangor, last year, in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year.

"However, the plan was dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown. The idea was later switched to Zoom instead," he told Astro Ulagam.

In addition to breaking the world record for the largest participation for an online dance festival, Natyanjali 2021 also hopes to become an annual event that would attract tourists to the country.

So far, more than 1,800 local participants have registered for the event, while international participants have expressed their interest to join via paying for their registration.

The partipants have also started sending in photos and videos of their dance practise session.

An event this massive a scale does come with its own set of challenges, Kunaratnam acknowledged.

These include a lack of funds, lack of support from large organisations, and dissatisfaction from some of the participants over the event's switch to online mode.

Since coordination is also crucial to keep the event broadcast in the stipulated time, the Natyanjali 2021 team also had to oursource a tech team from the outside to coordinate the event.

Despite the hurdles, preparations for the event is progressing well, Kunaratnam said.

Kudos to the team for coming up with this idea, and wishing all the best on breaking the Guiness World Record.

Photos source: Natyanjali 2021 team