Here’s a look at what a few dancers have to offer to connoisseurs and commoners alike.
Rare composers, new themes, fresh choreographies for unusual swarajatis, thillanas and varnams… well, that just about sums up the repertoire that dancers think up as the Margazhi air begins to waft over the Chennai shores, once again.
In keeping with the tradition of the December Music and Dance Special Supplement, here’s a look at what a few dancers have to offer to connoisseurs and commoners alike.
Dec 1, 7.15 p.m., Mylapore Fine Arts;
Dec 11, 7.30 p.m., Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
Dec 18, 7 p.m., Nungambakkam Cultural Academy
Dec 31, 6 p.m., Kartik Fine Arts
Jan 3, 2013, 7.30 p.m., Brahma Gana Sabha
Jan 5, 6 p.m., Indian Fine Arts Society
Pancha Murti Natanam (group)
Nov 29, 6.30 p.m., ICCR Horizon Series
Dec 22, 6 p.m., Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kilpauk
Jan 13, 2013, 6.30 p.m., Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha
Her excitement is infectious as Srekala talks about a new swarajathi she has choreographed for her solo show. “It’s ‘Kaana Aavalaananae’, a Thanjavur Quartet piece in Khambodi, Rupakam. Years ago, I watched Vyjayanthimala Bali perform that piece and was enthralled. I had the lyrics but not the tune. I finally managed to get the tune and am really excited about it.” The other highlight will be a piece on Surya, the Sun God, which will serve as the thillana. “This six-minute item will begin with the six names of the horses which draw Surya’s chariot and end with Rukmini Ramani’s lilting thillana in Surya ragam.”
Srekala’s group presentation will focus on five gods – Ganesa, Muruga, Siva, Shakti and Krishna – and is titled ‘Pancha Murthi Natanam.’ “The songs I have chosen will describe their beauty, valour and grace and will touch upon important episodes.”
Dec 18, 7.30 p.m. at Narada Gana Sabha & Dec 25, 7.30 p.m. at Brahma Gana Sabha -- ‘Manamae Brindavanamae.’
Dec 22, 7.30 p.m. at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha -- ‘Krishna Smaranam’
Dec 28, 7.30 p.m. at Kartik Fine Arts (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan) – ‘Darshan – Seeing’
January 4, 2013, 6 p.m. at The Music Academy
“I find it invigorating to revisit some old pieces. Like I am doing Andal’s ‘Manamae Brindavanamae’ after a while. My aim is not to just present some pieces but to explore a new dimension though my art. I want to celebrate the transcendent, and connect with my audience by not just touching their sense by their soul,” says this artist.
For Malavika, for whom dance is an act of meditation, a spiritual search which is reflected in ‘Krishna Smaranam.’
The spirit of dance is her sanctuary, her inspiration and her inner guide.
Narada Gana Sabha, Dec 16, 7.30 p.m.
Krishna Gana Sabha,
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kilpauk, Dec 25,
TBGS, Jan 16, 2013, Vani Mahal.
“It’s Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita for me”, says this doe-eyed dancer. “I have choreographed a new thematic presentation which I call ‘Apurva Purva.’ It emphasises, explores and emotes the universal truth: ‘Every action, whether good or bad, bears fruit; nobody can escape Karma’.” Urmila will use the story of the hunter whose arrow pierces Krishna’s leg leading to his passing away. When the hunter falls at his feet on discovering this, Krishna pacifies him by saying, “In my previous avatara (Rama), I killed Vali using deceit. I have to pay for that now. I may be the controller of Karma, but I too cannot escape it.” Shatavadhani Ganesh has penned the lyrics in Sanskrit, while Swamimalai Ganesh has composed the music.
Also, Urmila will present ‘Panchali Sabadam’, both as a solo and a group of 40 students. Her Margam solo will comprise a repertoire that Urmila have never danced before – Dhandayudhapani Pillai’s Kharaharapriya varnam, old padams and the Kalinga Narthana thillana.
Bharat Kalachar, Dec 24, 7 p.m.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kilpauk, Dec 25, 6 p.m.
Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Dec 29, 7.30 p.m.
Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha at Vani Mahal, Jan 14, 2013, 6.30 p.m.
Bandham: Exploration of Relationships. That’s the theme of Meenakshi’s solo presentation. She begins with Adi Sankara’s concept of Ardhanariswara. “I chanced upon a beautiful piece – the Tamil sahityam for Viriboni varnam by Tiruvavaadadurai Ambalavana Desikar. Here Valli longs for Muruga.” Meenakshi has chosen a Pulambal piece by Arunachala Kavi featuring Mandodari, who, on seeing the body of her husband Ravana, laments, “Oh Lord! You were such a great man. But just one fatal mistake led to your fall from grace. Your sister proved to be your nemesis.” She rounds off her show with a Meera bhajan which dwells upon Prema Bhakti. “Meera says all of human creation is femal and there is only one Male or Purusha… Krishna. In the process, it explores the bond between Jeevatma and Paramatma.”
Meenakshi’s students are presenting ‘Panchanubhavam’ which spotlights five rasas – Sringara, Roudra, Adbutha, Shoka and Shantha. The other choreography is titled ‘Raghava Yadava’ and focuses on Rama and Krishna.
Bharat Kalachar, Dec 15, 7 p.m.
Kartik Fine Arts at the Bhavan, Dec 25, 7.30 p.m.
Brahma Gana Sabha at the Sivagami Pethachi auditorium, Dec 29, 7 p.m.
This dancer will bring back ‘Chennai – a Margam For Our City’ this Season. Says Srinidhi, “This is a city of monuments, flyovers, skyscrapers, industry and culture. But it offers more. When you have lived in a city for a long time, it becomes a part of you. Call it roots or call it a bond, the link between you and your city becomes special, personal and intensely emotional. In your mind, you define the city through events and milestones from your own life. This is what I will explore through Margam.” The narration is by Madhuvanthy Arun.
Besides, for two other programmes, Srinidhi has chosen pieces that are vintage but to which she has added her own fresh twist. For example, the Pushpanjali, usually performed in praise of a deity, also addresses our motherland, thus lending a touch of patriotism.
For the varnam, the time-tested Thanjavur Quartet’s ‘Sakiye Indha Velayil, “I have interjected poetry from Divya Prabandham.” A Pudhukavithai by Vairamuthu takes the place of the padam while thillana is a blend of a rare Hindi thillana and a well known Krishna bhajan.