Bharath Nrithyotsav showcased promising talents in classical dance forms.

It was a pleasant surprise for dance lovers of Andhra Pradesh who got to witness an array of artistry in brilliant portrayals by foreign artists and the Indian Diaspora pursuing Indian Classical dance traditions. The platform was the Bharath Nrithyotsav International Indian Classical Dance Festival 2010, held recently in Vizag.

‘International' is one word which has often been warped to lend credibility to mediocre efforts. However, the Nataraja Music and Dance Academy of Vizag made a sincere effort to showcase dancers of Indian Classical forms of foreign origin and also the NRIs and their efforts to make the festival International in its content rather than focussing on external five star trappings of festivals as is often seen widely, need to be appreciated. However, the organisers need to acquire more finesse in many of the organisational and presentational aspects like managing the schedules, lights, sound and the stage backdrop to greater aesthetic levels.

The festival presented the Odissi dancers Irina Komissarova of Moscow and Chloe Romero of France while Kuchipudi was represented by Rajyashree Ramesh of Berlin and Mangala Maddali of USA whereas Malavika Venkatasubbaiah of Edmonton presented Bharatanatyam and Hridev Ray from Nepal performed Kathak and Manipuri was showcased by Wardha Rihab of Dhaka and P.M. Ruvini Silva from Kandy. Obviously chosen with care by the festival committee, the dancers exhibited the common factor of a sincere outlook towards the form chosen by them. Their devotion to dance was evident in the ardour with which they danced exhibiting neat technique evolving out of rigorous training and a rare sincere involvement and reverence for the art which came across in the performances, well appreciated by a full house at Kalabharati on both the days of the festival.

A special mention needs to be made of the striking, internalised performance of Irina Komissarova, a disciple of the inimitable Sujata Mohapatra, replete with technical virtuosity and poise of a mature dancer. A leading soloist of Odissi Jivan Nritya Dance studio in Moscow, Irina's delineation of Sal Beg's ‘ahe nila saila' was competent. The confident and yet mellow depiction of the episodes of Gajendra moksha, Draupadi vastra harana and the manifestation of Narasimha avatar in Sal Beg's entreaty to Lord Jagannatha to liberate him was commendable. Mangala Maddali's vivaciousness came across in the presentation of Narayanteertha's Govardhana Girdhara, a beautiful choreography of the maestro Vempati Chinna Satyam. The youngster displayed potential and with a little more finesse in her finishing movements will be a dancer to watch out for.

Malavika Venkatasubbaiah, a disciple of Lalita Srinivasan, is based in Canada and came across as a charming dancer especially in the rendition of the Ashtapadi ‘lalita lavanga'. Wardha Rihab of Dhaka displayed a good technique, ease and elegance in her performance of the ‘Radha roop varnan' elaborating the luminous beauty of Radha and also the Shivastuti abounding in the tandava element of the Manipuri idiom.

Chloe Romero who learnt Odissi under various teachers including Gangadhar Pradhan, Lingaraj Swain, Madhavi Mudgal and Sujata Mohapatra displayed ease in the Kelucharan Mohapatra's Saveri pallavi and the Navadurga but needs to further cultivate the poise required to execute the still poses. The other dancers in the festival need to hone their skills further but credit is due to all of them; one cannot but marvel at their individual journeys across the Indian Classical dance terrain and their understanding of the forms against the backdrop of an alien culture and aesthetics. Their perseverance and above all the joy and the aesthetic relish they imparted to their performances won many hearts.