National Young Dance Fest 2013, a three-day dance festival in Thiruvananthapuram, saw young dancers showcase different dance forms of India in a scintillating display of talent.

Rasikas of Thiruvananthapuram this time had one more reason to celebrate the much-awaited monsoon, thanks to a three-day National Young Dance Fest 2013, in the first week of June. This was the third instalment of the fete, which was also held in Thrissur and Kozhikode. The aim of the festival was to give a platform to budding artistes from across the country.

The inaugural day of the event featured Mohiniyattam by Rachana Narayanankutty and Bharatanatyam by Pavitra Krishna Bhat.

Rachana Narayanankutty

Beginning with a Vighneswara sthuti, Rachana moved on to 'Kunthiviraham', a popular Padavarnam in Hindolam, Adi tala. To some extent Rachana managed to depict the transformation of Kunthi from a lively girl to an agonised teenage mother. Next, she presented excerpts from Changampuzha's evergreen poem 'Ramanan'. However, it did not give much scope for the dancer to excel.

Pavitra Krishna Bhat

It seems Mumbai-based Pavitra Krishna Bhat was unable to spend time with his accompanists, who were arranged locally. Although there were a few hitches in between, he managed it very well. His performance began with a popular Ganesha sthuti ‘Sri Vighnarajam Bhaje’ followed by a traditional Alarippu. ‘Sri Krishna Kamalanatho’ varnam in Reethigowla, Adi tala, followed. The varnam narrates the story of Lord Krishna, from his birth to his manifestation of ‘Viswaroopadarsana’ during the narration of the Bhagavad Gita. Crisp and gripping narration of the death of Poothana itself showed the dancer's command over the dance form.

Barkha Tanvir

The second day’s programme opened with an Odissi recital by Barkha Tanvir from New Delhi. She started with Rageshree Pallavi, elaborated with graceful postures and foot work. ‘Na Jaa Jamuna...’, an abhinaya piece that followed, portrayed the Gopikas trying to stop Radha from going to the bank of the Jamuna where the mischievous Krishna was waiting. The choreography set to a melodious rhythm created a joyful mood. She concluded her recital with a Mahakali sthuti in which various manifestations of Devi Durga were elaborated.

Lakshmi Parthasarathy Athreya

Swati Tirunal's ‘Bhavaye Gopabalam...’ in Pushpalathika, Roopaka tala, was the invocatory piece for her Bharatanatyam performance. The lyrics were synchronised to a traditional Alarippu and was choreographed by her guru Chitra Visweswaran. Even though the choreography was fine, the simultaneous rendering of the lyrics and the jathis was not pleasing to the ears. Then she moved on to the central piece of her recital – a varnam composed by Lalgudi G. Jayaraman in Charukesi, Adi tala. In this composition, the Nayika asks Lord Krishna: ‘Is it fair to pretend that you do not understand my mind yet?’ The varnam gives a lot of opportunities to the dancer to bring out various sancharis as the Nayika’s reaction to an indifferent Sri Krishna and Lakshmi Parthasarathy made good use of it.

Anjali Balan

Anjali, the third performer of the day, seemed a bit tense at the beginning of her Mohiniyattam recital. A Cholkettu in Ragamalika, Adi tala, was not impressive. But she more than made up for it in the next item – ‘Manjuthara Kunjathala’, an Ashtapadi from Jayadeva's Gita Govindam. Gliding through various emotions of love, separation and longing, the Ashtapadi is a challenge to any dancer but Anjali was up to it and made it an emotionally touching experience for the audience. The last item was a Thillana.

Meera Sreenarayanan

Meera Sreenarayanan's Bharatanatyam on the third day was the pick of the festival. The way she utilised the space, the energy she brought in her adavus, the charisma she created through her varying emotions – all together it was a memorable performance. She opened the evening with a Ganesha sthuti and traditional Alarippu. ‘Thungatharange Gange’, lauding the Ganga, was in Hamsadhvani, Adi tala. This piece was choreographed by her guru Nirmala Nagarajan, who was supporting her on Nattuvangam. The Ashtapadi ‘Pashyati Dishi Dishi’ in Vasanthi, Misra Chappu Tala, followed. A sakhi (companion) describing Radha’s lovelorn state to Krishna being the theme, Meera proved that she can excel not only in nirtha but in abhinaya as well. She concluded her performance with a Thillana in Hindolam and Khanda Eka Tala.

Chandralekha

It was not a good day for Chandralekha from Chennai as her Kuchipudi recital here turned out to be a lackluster affair. The lack of planning was clearly visible at certain points. ‘Sivudu Thandavamadalu...’ a Ragamalika in Adi tala, choreographed by Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, followed the invocatory piece. The long sloka sequences in the beginning of the composition took much of the time and made her rush through the rest of her recital. In the abhinaya piece ‘Jagadodharana...’, she showed glimpses of talent. 'Balagopala' Tharangam in Mohana followed, which she failed to complete as the floor was not suitable for the movements on the plate.

Shuchismita Dutta

A Kathak recital by Shuchismita Dutta from Kolkatta brought the curtain down on the festival. Without a live orchestra to support her, Shuchismita made an earnest effort to give a true taste of Kathak to rasikas assembled there. In a 30-minute performance, she performed the Ganesa Vandana, an abhinaya piece and a Tarana set in three beat cycles.

The fete was organised by Kalabharathi Foundation.