The annual dance festival saw superb performances by artists from all over the South.

Kuchipudi dancer Deepika Reddy, a student of Vempati Chinna Satyam, was the playful Goddess Ganga.

From the calm flowing river, she transformed into an aggressive threatening flood that could drown the world. However, when Lord Siva held her back in his hair, she was tamed and Peace was restored to the world. That was the theme of ‘Mahadeva Siva Shambo,’ one of the presentations at Natyanjali 2012, the annual festival of dance held at the Perur temple, Coimbatore.

The three-day fest was organised by the Rotary Club of Coimbatore Metropolis and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department. Artists from different parts of South India explored various dance traditions. Naturally, most of the performances were tributes to the deity of the Perur temple, Lord Siva.

Deepika’s rhythmic display when she danced on the brass plate, kept the audience enthralled.

‘Sivashtakam’ in Mohanam, performed by Deepika and her students, was all about control and confidence.

‘Anbe Sivam’ by Rajeswari Sainath and her students from Hyderabad, depicted Siva as the Lord of the Universe. Rajeswari’s varnam, a solo effort, was full of grace and elegance. Her students danced to some complex rhythmic patterns set by mridangam Guru Karaikkudi Mani. The stories they had chosen gave the dancers an opportunity to experiment.

‘Silambu Vidu Thoodhu’ performed by Lakshmi Ramaswamy, a student of Chitra Viswesvaran, depicted the yearning of a devotee to reach her lord. She requests the clouds and the birds to carry her message to her beloved, but they decline. Lakshmi’s rendering of the loving devotee was subtle and effective.

‘Nrithyamala’ was performed by the Divyanjali Dance School. Divyasena and her students painted a colourful canvas of the divine form of Lord Siva with apt abhinaya and well-choreographed jatis.

Karuna Sagari and her troupe from Bakthi Natya Niketan performed a tillana that spoke of a devotee’s journey to a temple to pray to the deity during the deeparadhana. The bakthi rasa shone through the performance. In her solo performance, Karuna switched from roudra to sringara with ease, as she described the valour of Siva.

‘Gambeeranarthanam’ was the divine dance of Siva and Parvati, nimbly performed by the students of Bharatalayam Natya Palli.

The male dancers of Om Sri Nrithya Natesa Kalalaya were a picture of poise as they depicted the different deities of Mt. Kailasa. They exhibited great footwork and balance in the final tillana.

Mridula Rai from Coimbatore along with her students enacted through dance the fight between Rama and Ravana, and the abduction of Sita in ‘Ennum Ennamye.’

The Shivanjali Temple of Fine Arts put up ‘Angayarkanni’ which showed the marriage of Devi and Siva, and some of the dramatic sequences from Devi’s life.

The highlight of the festival was the performance by the special children of Vidya Vikasini School. The youngsters were a picture of grace and confidence, and nothing seemed to stop them that day. It was indeed a heart warming performance.