Natyanjali once again brought dancers to Perur where their performances were nothing short of a spiritual experience

The ancient Perur Temple reverberates with the sound of salangais and temple bells. It is not quite a regular day for the devotees. Instead of returning home after their evening pooja, they will wait for dusk when Natyanjali takes off. It is the annual three-day dance festival, organised by The Rotary Club of Coimbatore Metropolis and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department. From a mandapam like structure near the temple Archana Murali, danseuse and founder of Shastra Temple of Dance, emerges, clad in a glimmering Bharatanatyam costume. Her recital kickstarts the festival.

Says Archana, “Perur is also a heritage town. The temple is special as it also has a Nataraja Sabha. I danced in the morning in front of the sanctum sanctorum for the Nritya Seva. I enjoyed the experience.”

Archana performs a Jathiswaram, invoking goddess Saraswati. She is a picture of grace. She also dances to ‘Ennathavam Seyyane’ where she is both naughty Krishna and doting Yashoda.

The disciples of Sheela Unnikrishnan follow Archana. The dancers twirl and jump as they perform “Natesha Kauthuvam”. Bhakthi shines through their rendition of the varnam ‘Swami Naan Unthan Adimai’. The final performance of the day is by S. Murali and group. They present “Thiruvembavai”.

The second day begins with a recital by the students of Aradhana School of Dance. The dancers enthral the audience with their nimble movements and bhavas as they dance to ‘Aadum chidambaramo’.

A solo performance by Narthaki Nataraj is worthy of mention. She is a picture of control and poise as she renders “Sollu Kattu”.

A vibrant performance of four strapping male dancers, from the Tandava - The Vibrance, a Bangalore based Bharatanatyam group winds up the day’s fest. Ananth B.N, Karthik S. Datar, Somashekhar.C and Srinivasan. R, dressed in kasavu dhotis, mesmerize the audience with their supple moves. However, their last rendition, “Tandava”, wins them the loudest applause. Improvised on the stage, the piece is choreographed like a jugalbandi, where they dance to complex rhythms.

On the third day, Uma Ramesh, disciple of Padmashri Kanaka Srinivasan performs a pushpanjali for Lord Vinayaka. She then brings alive the myth of Thirugnanasambandar, who was blessed with golden cymbals by Lord Shiva.

“Naadin din naa na din din naa…” Kathak artist Divya Goswami Dikshit, disciple of Yogini Gandhi, holds the two ends of her flowing white anarkali and sways to the tabla beats. She keeps the audience spellbound with her dexterous footwork and smooth twirls. The air rings with the sound of her ghungroos, amplified by the mike.

This is followed by a recital by Shijith Nambiar, Bhavajan Kumar and Saranya Varma. They dance fast paced jathis. The festival comes to a close with “Thedi Kandukonden”, a thematic presentation by Meenakshi Chitaranjan, founder of Kaladiksha School of Bharatanatyam and her students.

With the dance festival successfully completing 18 years, S. Gurumurthy, the organiser of the festival says that it was while watching artistes dance in Chidambaram temple that he wanted to do something similar here. “I was mesmerised seeing them dance with such abandon. So I thought why not conduct a similar one in Perur, which has a lot of historical significance.” He states that the venue being a temple makes Natyanjali special and different from other festivals. “You could watch the same artiste perform in an auditorium. But they will charge you high rates and the lay man cannot afford this. We want to make classical art form accessible to all. We also want to turn this into a platform, which can showcase the young talents of the city.”