DANCE The 29th Kinkini Nrithyotsava had convincing performances by Yamini Muthanna and Bimbavati Devi

The 29th Kinkini Nrithyotsava, A National Festival of Classical Dances’ featuring Bharathanatya, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and Odissi performances spread over seven days, was organised recently by Kinkini, Bangalore. A Bharathanatya feature titled ‘Manas’ by Yamini Muthanna and a Manipuri recital by Bimbavati Devi were held on the second day of the festival.

Yamini Muthanna began with a mallari set to Gambhiranatta raga and adi thala, with a shloka dedicated to the great sage Patanjali woven into the choreography. The main body of the presentation was a tribute to the supreme consciousness that is the corner stone of the universe, based on Sanskrit verses drawn from numerous sources. Obeisance was paid to the universal preceptor who is also creator, preserver and destroyer, as manifested in Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The same power was also depicted as explicit in the five elements, with the solidity of earth, the softness of water, the heat of fire, the sway of the wind and the infinity of sky portrayed convincingly. The brightness of a thousand suns emanates from this very source, the fountainhead of all light and life.

The feminine principle, an inalienable part of divinity was next expounded, emphasizing the nurturing, powerful and sometimes fearsome aspects enshrined in the concept of Devi. The recital concluded with an evocative representation of the omniscient and omnipresent nature of the universal mind, culminating in the cessation of all activity, in total surrender and peace. Technical virtuosity, consummate artistry and amazing flexibility were implicit in the stances, footwork and the many yogic postures incorporated into the performance. Internalisation of, and absolute involvement in, the abstract and esoteric subject, were enhanced by a superb live orchestra and effective lighting.

Bimbavati Devi began her Manipuri recital with ‘Krishna Roop Varnan’ a delectable display of the swirling grace and light-footed movement characteristic of the idiom. The young Krishna, dallying with the gopis, enchants them with his beauty, his attributes and his adornments. The ensuing item ‘Khandita’, an exposition of the ashtapadi ‘Yahi Madhava Yahi Keshava’, was a complete contrast in tone and tenor. When Krishna arrives in the morning, Radha, who has waited in vain for him finds tell tale signs of infidelity, vents her ire and anguish and orders him to leave rather speak treacherous words explaining his absence.

Pung Cholum, presented by Tomar Singh, was a brief but engrossing display of dexterity and nimbleness, with rhythmic sequences played out on the drum, accompanied by synchronised footwork, agile leaps and twirls. The lead artiste took the stage again with ‘Nani Churi’, an engaging and animated depiction drawing from the childhood pranks of Krishna. Energetic and variegated footwork, expressive movement, and a vibrant tempo were suggestive of Krishna’s naughtiness and wiles as he steals butter in Yashoda’s absence. A live orchestral ensemble comprising seasoned artistes, and subtle lighting augmented the overall impact of the recital.

Madhavi Ramkumar