Dance Sai Jyothi’s enchanting performance was the highlight of ‘Bhagiratha Vilasam’. Velcheti Subrahmanyam

Bhageeratha Vilasam, the tale of the descent of celestial Ganga to the Earth in the vibrant idiom of Kuchipudi kept dance buffs enthralled at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam. Scripted by Ayyalasomayajula Rama Jogarao the ballet stood out for its lyrical grace as artistes of Nataraj Music and Dance Academy staged it with verve.

With an artistic backdrop of the royal court of king Sagara, the ballet commenced with ‘Sagaruni Prevesa daruvu’ and went on the depict how royal conceit, audacity and overbearing pride one generation was offset by the devotion, chastity and goodness of another generation in the same dynasty, thus making a world of a difference in the purpose of life and living of the ruling class, leading to the descent of Ganga.

The tale goes thus, Sagara performs an Aswamedha Yagam, and the Yaga Aswam (horse) that trots through neighbouring kingdoms proclaiming his suzerainty goes missing. Sagara’s sons track it down to at the hermitage of sage Kapila.

Believing Kapila to be a challenger, the proud princes assault Kapila even though he is deep in penance. Enrages, Kapila turns them all into ash. Upon being entreated to redeem their souls, Kapila says that is possible only when Ganga descends from heaven to Earth and touches the ashes.

Much later Sagara’s descendent Bhageeratha does penance and brings the celestial Ganga to the Earth. His penance for Lord Siva, Ganga’s descent on to the Lord Siva’s head and then to the Earth, her ecstatic journey across Bharata Khandam and finally her purging the sins of Sagara’s sons and other episodes found appealing expression in the ballet.

A wide assortment of human emotions in gestural vocabulary and vivacious choreography were the hallmark of the performance.

Sai Jyothi’s portrayal of Ganga remained outstanding. Endowed with a lissom grace in expression and bubbly exuberance in movement, she danced with verve, weaving enchanting floor designs that bore out her grip over the idiom of Kuchipudi.

In particular, her depiction of Ganga’s proud demeanour in Heaven, her descent onto the head of Lord Siva, her unbounded ecstatic mood following sage Bhageeratha across the planes – all presented an enchanting spectacle of classical dance. Even in group movements, she remained distinct in her kinetic presence. About 30 artistes participated in the ballet.

Dwaram.V G K Thyagaraju’s musical score further enhanced its appeal. KV Lakshmi, who choreographed the ballet, provided Nattuvangam, while M Pavani (vocal), M Edukondalu (mridangam), A Satyavishal (violin), D Rajarao (flute) and Ramesh (keyboard) lent good orchestral support.