Anita Guha and her team of dancers presented the ballet ‘Srinivasa Vaibhavam'.

Srinivasa Vaibhavam was seemingly simple theme choreographed with a magic wand by Anita Guha. The picturesque presentation was replete with aesthetics and grammar of Bharatanatyam. Performed at the SICA annual festival or music and dance, the ballet was set to a string of Annamacharya's compositions.

Deft footwork

The stage opened to the divinely inspired saint-poet (Ravindra Bhatt) singing and dancing in ecstasy in praise of the Lord of Seven Hills. Bhatt's was an instant success with the audience. For one, his personality and costume was close to the character he depicted, his footwork was deft as he darted like a deer. The bhakti bhava was writ all over his countenance. His jatis were compelling as were his lithe moves. It is not hyperbolic to say that he danced his way into the heart of his viewers.

What made the dance ballet draw a standing ovation towards the end was Anita Guha's eye for detail. Her choice of the number of dancers at each juncture as the scene changed showed the in depth thought process that went to symbolise certain principal belongings that form a vital link to the verses. For instance, Tirumala was depicted by seven dancers and Lakshmi originating from the lotus by a group of eight dancers –representing the eight-petalled lotus. The costume was greenish for the hills while it was a pink hue for the ‘Kamalam'. While the Lord being carried on the Garuda (two dancers form the flapping wings while a slightly stooped dancer making for the divine eagle), Goddess Lakshmi in another scene rises out of the lotus (encircled by the dancers again).

The highlight of the song drama was Muddugaare Yashoda wherein nine little Krishnas sashayed across the stage from the side wings, the number again representing the reference to nine gems in the song. It was a wonderful piece of aesthetics to see these little ones drop on to the forefront from behind the scenes and dance in perfect sync. The jatis of these below 10 year-olds were executed with professional perfection. So, were the tiny ‘vanara' all over the stage helping Rama to build the bridge across the Sethu samudram as Annamayya visualises the Lord in Rama avatar.

The journey in aesthetics closed in the most majestic fashion with all the Tirumala Brahmotsavams enacted on stage one by one right from Garuda to Surya and Chandraprabha vahanams all being portrayed by the dancers using only one item like the ‘chaamara'. The audience felt that Anita Guha transported the divine spectacle of Tirumala to Ravindra Bharati. Despite certain technical snags and the redundant narration in Tamil over a digital screen as well as the recorded version of the entire ballet, Srinivasa Vaibhavam bears testimony to the fact that a visual art is great only when it reaches out in the real sense.

R.K.