Art

Rising to the occasion

Putting best foot forward: The Manipuri troupe of Poushali Chatterjee

Putting best foot forward: The Manipuri troupe of Poushali Chatterjee  

Natya Tarangini’s Maha Shivratri festival saw offerings of dance and music to the Creator of the performing arts

The amphitheatre of RajaRadha Rangmanch as always was agog with music and dance aficionados on the festive night of Maha Shivratri. The cool sky above was arrested from showering its winter haze by the lamp post heaters placed at vantage points, emanating warmth on the gallery where the audience were seated. For the past couple of years, Natya Tarangini has been hosting Shivratri with offering of dance and music to the Creator of the performing arts. The line up of artistes have always been the best in the field and this year was no less. This year had the likes of Manipuri expert Poushali Chatterjee, Kuchipudi danseuse Sindhu Ravuri and the students of Natya Tarangini performing exclusively on lord Shiva in keeping with the auspicious, austere night.

Sindhu Ravuri

Sindhu Ravuri  

Says guru Raja Reddy, “We’ve been observing Shivratri on a personal level through the years but this dedication to dance and music has begun four years ago. This auspicious night is significant as driving away the darkness called ignorance to help realise the pulsating cosmic energy that is responsible for this live universe. Our entire family is into dance and nothing but dance. So it is natural that we offer our art to the creator.”

The Shiva-Panchakshari, a home production by the group, paved way for US-based Sindhu Ravuri. A disciple of Raja and Radha Reddy explored the nuances of Kuchipudi with her “Aadenamma Harudu”. A eulogy to Lord Shiva (Hara), it was marked by rigorous footwork to stunning jatis, a hallmark of Guru Raja Reddy’s style and fine hastha abhinaya (gesticulations with mudra). The dancer displayed immense verve and vigour to undertake this solo lengthy piece with spiritual fervour. Her statuesque postures in pause were striking as were her agile moves.

Beat of drums

The Manipuri group, led by Poushali Chatterjee, showcased a colourful and novel worship of Shiva through ‘damaru’(drums), the rhythmic aspect of the lord of dance. With a spear placed on the pedestal and flowers forming the backdrop, the dancers, both male and female, went in circular fashion to the beat of their drums to the chants of Mahadev with salutation to the syllable ‘Ma’ which is one of the Panchakshari.

The theme was lengthy as it covered varied facets of Shiva – from the emergence to cleansing and restoration of balance when the universe goes topsy-turvy. The concept of time which originates from Mahakaal was suggestively represented through the percussion dance which had the audience in raptures. A couple of verses from Ravan’s “Shiv Tandav Stotra” to which they mimed and danced was the best in the whole show. The damaru also moves to envisage Devi, the Shakti aspect of Shiva. In a nutshell, the Manipuri dance ensemble encapsulated in entirety the Shiva tatwa making for a wholesome presentation.

A young talented painter Jason was a treat to behold with his drawing of Shiva on the insides of the wall enclosing the amphitheatre even as he watched the dances on stage. Raja and Radha Reddy also felicitated three veterans gurus Singhajit Singh and Charu, poet and man of letters Dr Ashok Chakradhar and dance critic Ravindra Mishra.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:26:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/rising-to-the-occasion/article30931185.ece

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