Teachers speak of their presentations.
If solo natya presentations showcase the talent of an individual, group performances throw the spotlight on harmony and coordination. It is team work at its best. Also such performances highlight the skill of the teacher, who makes it possible. There are gurus renowned for their dance-dramas based on themes. A look at some key players:
“Ït is a privilege to perform during the season. It inspires not only the dancers but also the gurus to bring out the best in them and in their students,” said Sheila Unnikrishnan, director, Sree Devi Nrithyalaya, that will is offering its 11 production, ‘Sri Krishna Vaibhavam.’ The production has been choreographed by Sheila and set to music by Kuldeep Pai.
The production deals with different angles of the Lord such as Krishna as a child, a teacher, a servant, a friend and how his devotees want him to be the universal protector. About 80 students of the dance school will be involved in this mega production.
Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Dec. 9);
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Dec. 26);
Chennai Cultural Academy (Rama Rao Kala Mantap, Dec. 17) and
Bharat Kalachar (Dec. 31).
“There will be no new production this year. My students will be presenting ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ and ‘Pada Kavitaa Pithamaha’ (a Nrithya natakam) for the season. The characters involved in these have changed and some innovations have been made in both the presentations,” said Anita Guha, director Bharatanjali. ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ will be a thematic presentation based on the composition of great saints and poets - Tyagaraja, Swati Tirunal, Oothukkadu Venkatakavi and others.
Dates: Sri Krishna Gana Sabha at Nalli Gana Vihar (Dec. 19, 7.30 p.m.);
Brahma Gana Sabha (Smt. Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, Dec 24, 7 p.m.) and
Indian Fine Arts (German Hall, Jan 1, 7. 30 p.m.).
Senior students of Bharatanjali will present Ganapathy thalam at the Music Academy (Jan. 11, 6.30 p.m.) for Kalavardhini. With Prof. Thiagarajan as the resource person, mridangam vidwan Ramshankar Babu and Anita have woven intricate rhythm patterns and jathis in the piece.
With students leaving for higher education or other personal reasons, maintaining team spirit is a challenge. “Chemistry among students is vital in a group production, especially when abhinaya is involved,” says Jayanthi Subramaniam. Season not only creates opportunity but also instills a sense of responsibility for a performer. She will be giving solo performances at the Narada Gana Sabha (Dec. 21 2 p.m.) and Chennai Cultural Academy (Dec. 27. 7 p.m.). Jayanthi’s production - Naukacharitham, which was premiered in March has received a grant from the Ministry of Culture. This will be presented for Karthik Fine Arts at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Dec. 25, 5.30 p.m.; Brahma Gana Sabha (Pethachi Auditorium, Dec. 26, 7 p.m.); Bapalal Bhavan (for RASA, 7 p.m.) and Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha (Vani Mahal, Jan 21).
Abhinaya Natyalaya of Krishnakumari Narendran is presenting ‘Sri Ranganatha Vaibhavam’ (Nrithya natakam in Tamil). The story of Srirangam, Azhwar pasurams have been interwoven into the theme.
Dates: Tamil Isai Sangam, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. and Brahma Gana Sabha, Jan. 20.
‘Sri Mahaganapati,’ staged four years ago has been re-choreographed by Krishnakumari Narendran. The highlight will be Shodasa Ganapati. Two shows of the play will be staged on the same day (Dec. 22) at different venues - Kamarajar Arangam (Chennayil Tiruvaiyaru, 2.45 p.m.) and Rama Rao Kala Mantap (7 p.m.).
Krishnakumari Narendran will be conferred the title, Nrithyakala Jyothi, at the inaugural function of Chennai Cultural Academy Trust at Rama Rao Kala Mantap. At the same venue Revathi Ramachandran and her disciples will present ‘Om Saravana Bhava,’ 7 p.m. She has sourced material from Kandar Anuboothi, Subramanya Bhujangam and Thirupugazh. Revathi will be presenting Nrithyalahari during the annual brahmotsavam of Mahalingapuram Ayappan temple on Dec. 28, 6. 30 p.m.