Sadrshyam was distinctive for its layered nuances and dynamic movements.

Animated dialogue, eye catching imagery and a flood of ragas accompanied ‘Sadrshyam,’ the ensemble Bharatanatyam performance at Rukmini Arangam, Kalakshetra. Composed by Sheejith Krishna and presented by the Sahrdaya Foundation, the production was distinctive for the layered nuances and the dynamic movements.

Theatre, music and dance came together as the performers voiced their thoughts and shared the context of the pieces being presented. For the most part, the banter worked well in drawing the audience into the vision of the dance.

Full of promise

The prelude to the dancing was a short conversation by Sheejith, Akhila Ramnarayan and Jyotishmati Sheejith that expressed not only the aspirations but the struggle experienced by artists in fulfilling them.

“Who is the giver of light?” asked Subramanya Bharati. This thought was explored in the opening section where the dancers wove steps and expressions to celebrate the Sun God. In raga Surya, this poetry not only praised the fiery energy of the Sun but also his nurturing and protective qualities as well. Different aspects of Nature such as rain, breeze and planets, were taken up for descriptive essay here.

The main piece, placed like a varnam, was a selection of Thanjavur Quartet compositions set in seven ragas, termed ‘Sadrshyam.’ With vocal music by Jyotismati Sheejith and Akhila Ramnarayan, the orchestral group gave melodious support that traversed ragas Thodi, Purvikalyani, Bhairavi, Kalyani, Khambodi, Mukhari and Varali. There were dramatic anecdotes as well as plaintive conveying of the nayika’s predicament.

The episode of Parvati closing Siva’s eyes in play stood out for concise storytelling where devotion and love were set as twin components.

The Tamil lyric could be appreciated for its in-depth composing of jati, sahitya and swaram format and was performed with feisty involvement by the dancers. The nritta was performed with diligence and grace. Had the dancers taken the same care with their dressing, the falling flowers, earrings and other accessories could have been avoided.

The story of Ganga’s descent and the toil of Bhagiratha were highlighted in powerful stories drawn from verses of Kalidasa and Adi Sankara.

Set in ragas such as Mohanam, Kalyani, Durga, Hamirkalyani and Pahadi (music by Jyotishmati), the Bharatanatyam here was intense.

The idea of the rushing river as portrayed by the dancers using vibrant body language was an ingenious synergy of traditional and modern expressions.

The reach of the Gita and the classical dancers’ dilemma of dancing an old tale in today’s world were portrayed with great elaboration next. Yet by this point in the concert, it was like one dessert too many; a simpler piece would have made better impact. Trimming the dialogue at the tail end of the evening would have lifted the dancing here.

Thillana in Purvi rounded up the evening with an energetic air. Dancers Manjari, Anjana, Divya, Suhasini, Saroopa, Karuna Sagari, Manasvini, Gheertiga, Sunitta, Prithvija, Rajamally and Unnikrishnan gave substance to Sheejith Krishna’s creativity.