The nuances of Odissi and Kathak were highlighted at ‘Pravah’, a dance fete in Kochi.

‘Pravah’, a festival of dance in Kochi, featured Kathak by Madhumita Roy and Odissi by Ileana Citaristi.

In a thumri, Madhumita portrayed the different kinds of love symbolised by Meera, Radha and Yashoda. A fusion item had dancers performing to a Western percussion piece that was suffused with Indian melody. Prasanjit Majumdar and Amit Das vigorously captured the energy of the piece. They repeated the feat in an item titled ‘The Rain’, in which Madhumita captured the romantic appeal of the rain.

A thematic piece explored the permanence of the art of sculpture. In pure dance style, Debjaya Sarkar showed how even an inanimate work of art like a sculpture can attain life and the emotions of the outside world. Eventually, the pathos of destruction of these sculpted works – and of art and history – were brought to the fore through ingenious movements and video projections.

However, a choreographed item, ‘Nrityamal’, was rather uncoordinated, with the dancers bumping against each other and some even missing a beat. It seemed more like a gimmick devoid of aesthetics, when the dancers came on stage with huge black screens that separately highlighted the face, feet and hand movements.

The Odissi performance on the second day started with ‘Mangalacharan’ by Sagarika, Upasana and Anindita, which ended in ‘triple salutation’ – above the head to the Gods, to the guru and to the audience. In ‘Exploration’, an item of pure nritta, Ileana and Saswat Joshi explored the space around gravity in alternate movements of attraction and expansion. Saswat exuded grace and tremendous grip on the idiom.

In a piece that highlighted abhinaya, Ileana essayed the bashfulness of Radha as she describes memorable moments with Krishna. The pallavi in rag Kalavati saw the dancers exploring soft eye and torso movements before taking it to a culmination with complex interpretation of music and rhythm. The grammar was precise and the movements were marked with clarity and panache.

‘Dasa Mahavidhya’ or the 10 forms of knowledge of the goddess was the piece-de-resistance of the evening. Especially breathtaking was the portrayal of goddess Chinnamasta. Kamala or the lotus goddess was presented in all grandeur, with Saswath taking the role of the bird and Ileana that of the goddess.

The programme was organised by India International Rural Cultural Center (IRCEN) and Kerala Fine Arts Society.