Mythili Anoop, Pooja Pant and Amrita Lahiri enchanted the audience in Thrissur with their captivating performances in Mohiniyattom, Kathak and Kuchipudi, respectively.

Monsoon Dance Fest 2012 in Thrissur showcased captivating performances in Mohiniyattom, Kathak and Kuchipudi. As the presentations were all solos, the performers could bring out the nuances of each of the classical dance forms to the hilt. Notwithstanding the short duration (one hour each), all the dance pieces were equally attractive.

Mythili Anoop, a disciple of Kalamandalam Kshemavathy and Gopika Varma, exhibited her talent while delineating the intrinsic trait of Mohiniyattom, which is lasya. She opened with Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s popular composition on Ganapathy in Arabhi and Adi tala. Swati’s composition on the deity of Kumaranellur temple brought to limelight the dancer’s skill in abhinaya as she vividly described the features of the goddess. On the Suddha Nritta side, Mythili’s ‘sirobheda’ appeared commendable. The piece, ‘Sree Kumara nagaralaya’ was in Atana and Adi. The jathiswaram in Tisra jathi adi and Bahudari demonstrated her keen sense of rhythm. Three sancharis were depicted in the recital of ‘Mahadeva Sivasambho’ (Thanjavur Sankara Iyer), in Revathi. Interestingly all of them narrated anecdotes that delineated the staunch Siva bhakti of Markandeya, Ravana and Bhageeratha. The third Ashtapadi, ‘Lalitha lavanga latha parisilana komala laya sameere’, set to Hindolam, portrayed the pangs of ‘vipralambham’ (separation) of the nayika while observing the changes in the nature around her. She concluded the recital with a tillana in Huseni, a composition of T.N. Seshagopal. However, she had to brave the poor audio quality of the recorded music while performing this piece.

A spectacular recital of Kathak with all its concomitant technical feats was presented by Pooja Pant on the second day. Her overall performance demonstrated how the physical language of the body was more powerful than words. Opening with the traditional invocation sloka to Siva, ‘Angikam Bhuvanam yasya’, she slipped into a Dhrupad in Behag and Chau taal. Teen taal (16 beats), manifested through eight compositions of Aamad, Toda, Tihayee, Ginti, Tipalli, Paran, Gatnikas and Tatkaar. While she was applauded for all of them, Gatnikas that displayed varied gaits were specially noteworthy with Sidhi (dance), Ghunghat (veil) and Rukhsaar (cheek). Tatkaar, the intricate rhythm pattern woven by footwork, was awe-inspiring.

For her next piece, she chose a bhajan by Pandit Bindadeen Maharaj, ‘Aiso Raam hai dukh haran’. Pooja exhibited her singular histrionic talent in this number while presenting two anecdotes: ‘Draupati Vasthrakshepa’ and ‘Sabari moksha’. Deep concentration, subtle movements, and her delineation of Sabari’s rapture over meeting Rama showcased her mastery over the dance form. Performed to Roopak taal (seven beats), the number embraced thrilling pirouettes that utilised the entire space on stage.

The Thumri, ‘Kara ko kanganava mori, Chaad de kakai’ illustrated a romantic tiff between a nayika and a nayaka. It was short but neat. She wound up with a tarana in Jhaptaal (10 beats). On the last day, Amrita Lahiri staged an enthralling Kuchipudi recital in which the dancer appeared to be a source of inexhaustible energy. Symbiotic movements, sculpturesque poses and extremely soft footwork were the demarcating features of Amrita’s artistry.

Invocation to Siva was followed by ‘Jayamu Jayamu Lalita kala vanike’ through which the dancer sought the blessings of Goddess Saraswathy, the poets, the musicians, all rasikas and also the Kuchipudi Art Academy. Choreographed by Vempatti Chinna Sathyam, it served as an introduction to both the dance form and the dancer. ‘Usha Parinayam’, choreographed by Swapnasundari, depicted the story of Bhanasura’s daughter Usha falling in love with a handsome young man who appeared in her dream. Amrita’s narration of the dream and all the anecdotes that followed, including Chitralekha’s sketch of the man from Usha’s dream, – all had a stamp of individuality of the danseuse. Interestingly, the extremely prolonged jatis added to the elegance of the nritta. It was composed in ragamalika with Sankarabharanam, Anandabhairavi and Kapi. Tarangam, choreographed by Jaikishore Mosalikanti, was also in praise of Siva. The main story was the genesis of Ganga. Rhythmic niceties apart, the dancer exhibited laudable stability in the varied poses and she was also careful enough not to overdo the plate part of the dance. Amrita’s own choreographic ingenuity was discernible in the tillana that combined a traditional one with a couple of lines from Rabindranath Tagore. Composed in Desh, the nayika invokes the ‘dark beautiful one’ who can be interpreted as a companion (Krishna) who can quench her thirst or the dark clouds that can destroy heat. Excerpted from Tagore’s Varsha songs, the concluding number was much relevant to the title of the festival (Monsoon Dance fest). The festival was organised by Navaneetham Cultural Trust.