Chetanotsavam-2010 was a celebration of dance and music.

A Kuchipudi performance, a Carnatic music concert and a vignette of contemporary dance by Mexican artiste Abril Gomez were the major attractions of Chetanotsavam-2010.

Sreelakshmi Govardhan's Kuchipudi recital was praiseworthy for its geometrical perfection of adavus. She began her recital with the customary invocation to Ganesha. As she moved into ‘Ramayana Sabdam,' her keen sense of rhythm was revealed through the symbiotic movements of the entire body especially the footwork. The way in which the intricate jathis and sahithya were interwoven, made it noteworthy. Incidentally, ‘Ramayana Sabdam' is a traditional item that used to be performed in Rama Natakam; it relates the various episodes of Rama up to his coronation. It was composed in Mohanam, Adi.

Abhinaya

No recital of Kuchipudi is complete without the traditional feat of Tarangam. As for Sreelakshmi, this item served to highlight her unmatched virtuosity for abhinaya. True, the number depicts the conventional anecdotes in the life of Krishna, but Sreelakshmi made each one of them, like the stealing of butter, stealing the clothes of gopikas and also eventually the raasaleela, memorable.

The ‘vipralambha' nayika Sathyabhama, portrayed by Sreelakshmi, is sure to stay etched in the memory of all who watched the ‘Bhama Kalapam.' The arrogance and jealousy of the ‘most sought-after wife' of Krishna were delineated skilfully by the danseuse. She concluded the recital with the Tamil padam ‘Athuvum solluval aval anekamum solluval' in Sourashtram, which portrayed the antics of a ‘khantitha' nayika.

The two-hour concert by Mavelikkara P. Subramaniam proved that although he is a traditionalist to the core, he is creative in his approach. His music provided soukyam to the listeners – a very rare experience these days. Subramaniam also proved that his USP was melody. He proved himself a veteran teacher when he explained the salient features of some of the compositions, like the Begada Adi tala varnam of Vinakooppayyar with which he opened the two-hour concert.

‘Gajaananayuthan Ganeshwaram,' the Dikshitar composition in Chakravakam, Adi tala, was specially noted for the repose it exuded. Swati's evergreen composition in Reetigoula, ‘Paripalayamam' in Roopakam was alluring and the syncopations in the charanams rendered additional grace to the rendition.

The percussion embellishment to this part by Guruvayur Sanoj on the mridangam and Manjoor Unnikrishnan on the ghatam was commendable.

Poorvikalyani had an enticing delineation in Syamasastri's ‘Ninnu vinaka marithike varunnaaru,' the composition in Misra chapu. For those who wondered why Tyagaraja was a significant omission until this part of the concert, Subramaniam presented the relatively rare raga Vasanthabhairavi, ‘Nee daya raada' in Roopakam.

The innumerable shades of the sampoorna raga Todi, found expression in the aesthetically woven phrases which the musician gave out in quick succession. When Abdul Aziz's violin captured and reproduced them quite faithfully in the avartanam, the audience responded with applause. The kriti for this (main) raga was Papanasam Sivan's ‘Thaamathamen swamy,' set to Adi. The tani was in the right proportion.

Mexican interpretation

An experimental dance piece presented by Mexican danseuse Abril Gomez, a degree student of Mohiniyattam in Kalamandalam, attracted a large crowd, including theatre activists. Metaphysical ramifications of the leitmotif were evident in all the three choreographies she staged.

She opened with a piece that appeared as a salutation to the universe and the earth. It was rich in feats resembling the ‘ashta dikpala vandanam' common to many classical theatre forms of Indian origin. The second one, anchored on the Greek poem by Safo de Lesbos, reflected feats of Mohiniyattom including many adavus and charis. Francisco Toledo's paintings were the inspiration for the concluding number that depicted wildlife.

The two-day festival was organised under the joint aegis of Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy and Chetana Music College in Thrissur. Numerous performances by the students of the both institutions apart, the festival also showcased Abril's dance recital.