The five-day ‘Mudra Fest 07’ saw renowned dancers showcasing the best of Indian classical dance forms.

‘Mudra Fest 07’ provided a unique opportunity for art lovers in Thiruvananthapuram to witness the performances of some of the best dancers in India. Organised by the Department of Culture and Vyloppilli Samskriti Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram, the five-day event was a tribute to Indian classical dance.

The festival started with a Mohiniyattom recital by danseuse Pallavi Krishnan. She began with a Ganapathi sthuthi in Raga Begada and Nattakurinji.

‘Vikramorvasheyam,’ a well-choreographed item, marked Pallavi’s expertise in abhinaya. Pallavi was at her best in the Swati Tirunal padam ‘Poonthen Neermozhi.’

Leela Samson, a leading exponent of Bharathanatyam, enthralled the audience with her vibrant repertoire. Beginning with the Swati Tirunal composition ‘Sankara Sree giri,’ she moved on to a Raagamalika varnam, which showcased her perfect movements and rhythmic skills.

She also performed ‘Ardhanaareswara’ in Raagamalika, an Ashtapadi in Mishrakapi, a Bhajan by Surdas in Shivaranjini and a Thillana by Lagudi Jayaraman in Revathi.

Deft footwork

Shijith Nambiar’s short Bharathanatyam recital on the second day of the fete highlighted his deft footwork and energy. The invocatory piece on Ganapathy in Natta, and ‘Bho shambo,’ a keerthanam in Revathy, exhibited Shijith’s choreographic skills.

A varnam in Raga Kharaharapriya, set to Adi tala, a composition of Thenmadam Narasimhachari, was the highlight of the evening. Choreographed by the maestro V.P. Dananjayan, the piece stood out on account of Shijith’s fluid and captivating presentation.

A versatile danseuse, Ranjana’a Odissi recital was a blend of abhinaya and aesthetics. In a well-compiled recital, heralded by a Mangalacharan in Bhoopali, she began her performance with a Swati Tirunal kriti in Saveri set to Tal Triputa, depicting the heroine’s meeting with Krishna on the banks of the Jamuna.

The abhinaya piece in Mishrakapi, ‘Kuru Yadu Nandan,’ adapted from ‘Gita Govinda,’ describes the love between Radha and Krishna. Ranjana’s interpretative skills made her performance memorable.

It was the perfect synchronisation of Hari and Chetana, the Kathak duo from Bangalore, that was the predominant feature in their performance. With right timing, striking footwork and a good sense of costumes, the duo kept the audience mesmerised. Their presentation of ‘Madhur Madhav,’ a Swati Tirunal composition in Brindavani sarangi, which beautifully shows the various shades of Radha’s love for Krishan, was a highlight of their performance.

Well versed in Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi, Swapnasundari’s heart is in Vilasini Natyam. Her performance on the third day of the Mudra Fest was a feast for the eye as it reflected her dedication to the art form. The Swarajathi in Raga Huseini, a rare piece, brilliantly explored the lyrical content. Each item in her repertoire was explained to the audience and was accompanied by a brief history of Vilasini Natyam and its techniques.

The only Kuchipudi recital of the festival was by Vempatti Ravi Shankar and his troupe from Kuchipudi Art Academy, Chennai. Ravi Shankar, a disciple of Vempatti Chinna Satyam, is an accomplished vocalist too.

Ravi Shankar’s training came through in the Jayadeva Ashtapadi in Ragamalika set to Adi tala. ‘Narayaneeyam,’ performed by his troupe members Vasavi and Kalapna Sreenivas, was impressive.

Rajendra Gangani and his promising disciple Swathi Sinha came up with a stunning Kathak recital. Brief explanation between the numbers added beauty to the presentation. ‘Nrtittpaksh,’ an item that displays the agility of the dancer, was combined with an improvised theme ‘rain.’ Swathi Sinha also performed a Tumri.

The last day of the fete saw a Vilasini Natyam performance by Purvadhanashree and a Mohiniyattam performance by Kalamandalam Leelamma. A disciple of Swapnasundari, Purvadhanshree started the recital with a Choornika. This was followed by a varnam, addressed to Lord Koppeshvara, an avatar of Shiva, in which Purvadhanashree revealed her talent in abhinaya.

The curtain came down with a Mohiniyaatam recital by Kalamandalam Leelaamma and her daughter Krishnapriya. The presentation ‘Maampazham,’ a poem by Vyloppilly Sreedhara Menon, was the crème of the recital.