Artists from India and Singapore shared the stage to present shows of high standard.

“This is the first time, that a pure dance festival has taken place in Singapore showcasing classical dance forms,” said Gayatri Sriram, producer of Samarpana, an Asian dance festival, conducted in Singapore from Sep 14-16. The inauguration at the NUS University Cultural Centre was attended by a heavy turnout of people.

Priyadarsini Govind, dressed in peacock colours, shared the stage with T.M. Krishna, to present ‘Saayujya,’ a collaboration that the duo is taking to the U.S. Suma Sayaka, a beautiful varnam by Maharaja Swati Tirunal, was the opening piece which saw great improvisation by both Krishna and Govind. To this writer, the taanam interspersed with the thillana was the highlight.

The second day, the children’s segment, saw students of Shruti Laya School of Dance, Singapore, collaborate with dancers from the Mudrika Ensemble, Bangalore, in Ramakatha. The choreography by Minal Prabhu of Bangalore and GayatriSriram, the interpretation and performance were of a high standard. Both costume and choreographic formations were interesting. The entire production was based on ‘Bhavayami’ with jati patterns and pieces such as ‘Thumak Chalath Ramachandra’ interspersed. The collaboration between senior professional dancers from India and upcoming dancers from Singapore caught the eye of a well-packed auditorium.

Following this, in the upcoming artiste slot, was 17-year-oldTanvi Bhaskar’s performance where she enacted the seldom-told tale of Uttara, Abhimanyu’s wife. It was wonderful to see her depict complicated and complex characters of the Mahabharata.

Ramli Ibrahim’s Odissi dance was a fitting end to the second day. He was grace embodied. The Sutra dance Theatre along with the maestro presented powerful images, originally conceptualised by Odissi pioneer Guru Debo Prasad Das.

The third day began with Sardono Kusumo, a well-known contemporary artiste who collaborated with Ananya Chatterjea in a performance that focused on the living breath as a metaphor for movement. The Q&A, moderated by Prof. Prasenjit Duara of the Asia Reseach Institute, that followed was insightful and lively.

The Kathak performance by Ponnamma Devaiah, student of Maya Rao, traced the romantic journey of Radha and Krishna.

Gayatri Sriram brought the curtain down with Yagyaseni. This extols the story of Draupadi in conversation with Krishna describing the poignant moments of her life with her five husbands.

Music by Balasubramanya Sharma was haunting with wonderful nattuvangam by Minal Prabhu, Gayatri’s guru, accompanied by maestro G. Gurumurthy on the mridangam.

The dream of Samarpana and its organisers, Gayatri Sriram with Jade Group is to collaborate with artists all over the world. “Dance being a visual medium has a language of its own. We want to showcase dance forms, encourage budding artistes and bring superior talents from all over the world on one stage. Samarpana Festival in Singapore should become a destination for art lovers in the future. We hope that this festival, which has started with a bang, can only get bigger and better,” said Gayatri Sriram at the end of this three-day festival.