The emphasis on eight holy centres associated with Lord Siva formed the storyline of ‘Thennaadudaya Sivane Potri.’

Bharatanatyam and oratory aligned well to communicate distinctive aspects of Siva lore in ‘Thennaadudaya Sivane Potri,’ a group presentation by the disciples of the Kanagasabai School of Bharatanatyam, established and managed by Sasirekha Raammohan, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

The choice of episodes and the manner of presentation reflected some serious groundwork into the concept by Dr. S. Raghuraman. The interpretation into dance medium by Sasirekha successfully shed light on both the narrative and the insightful features of the stories without slipping into tedium. Introduction by Malini Ravindran laid the mood for the natyam.

Novel attempt

A novel aspect was the interspersing of the story rendering in the ‘kathakalakshepam’ style with the dancing. Roshini Ganesh’s brisk singing and retelling kept the momentum. Her cheerful narration of the legends peppered with weighty points as well as contemporary illustrations brought home the message with clarity. Her mention of ‘option A or option B’ to the childless couple in Markandeya’s story was an instance of humorous handling of an old tale.

On the whole, this stratagem served to link one part of the story with another while getting across the main facts swiftly. But on some occasions, the devotional throw of this medium was at odds with the dynamics of the dance drama. This was obvious in interludes following the dance depictions such as the destruction of Tripura, or the slaying of the demon Angatan.

The primary charm of the evening was the confident dancing in classical style, which also incorporated dramatic necessities. Akshaya, Aniigeeth, Ashwathy, Ayushmathi, Bharathi, Divya, Kamalika, Neha, Manasa, Mathangi, Niranchanaa, Nivetha, Padmasri, Shruthe Raammohan, Sreetha, Sruthy Anand, Swetha, Vaishali, Vignesh Raammohan and Yamini made up the smiling group of dancers.

The emphasis on the eight holy centres such as Tiruvazhuvur, Tirukovalur, Tirukandiyur, etc. associated with Lord Siva formed the storyline. The narrative recounted different emotions in the eight stories. Role play by the dancers was convincing, and if the make-up for Brahma gave the character a youthful look fit for Muruga, the brisk dancing made amends.

One of the moments that stood out for vibrant dancing was the depiction of the episode of the destruction of the three cities - Tripura. The spirited movements as well as the build-up in music accentuated the drama. Another eye-catching episode was that of subduing the rishis of Darukavana which culminated in the tableau of Lord Siva in all his glory with the weapons – snake, tiger, and similar iconic adornments.

G. Srikkanth, R. Veeraraghavan, Roshini Ganesh and Uma Namboodaripad on the vocals did justice to Dr. Rajkumar Bharathi’s sensitive music score. This could be gauged from the singing for the hymns which had a other-world classical feel, while that for the romantic interludes flowed with a lighter air.

Coordinated movements by the dancers, quick costume changes, selective special effects and an overall ambience of devotion were the plus points of ‘Thennaadudaya Sivane Potri.’