Ballet Dance

Ballets, new and old, take centrestage

A scene from the ballet ‘Krishnaveni Vaibhavam’.

A scene from the ballet ‘Krishnaveni Vaibhavam’.  

The complex ballets of Krishnaveni Vaibhavam, Rukmini Kalyanam and select Bharatanatyam pieces enthralled audience.

A Kuchipudi dance recital at Ravindra Bharati saw performances by Sreelatha Prasad and students of her dance institute Abhinaya Kuchipudi Kalakshetram.

The event comprised three solo numbers and the ballet ‘Krishnaveni Vaibhavam’ (Glory of Krishnaveni).

The opening number was Oothukadu Venkatasubbaiyer’s, Ananda Nartana Ganapathi, followed by the traditional number Ramayana Sabdam and Ananda Tandavamade, choreographed by late Vempati Chinna Satyam and penned by Dr C Narayana Reddy. While the first two numbers were presented by the students, the third was presented by guru Sreelatha.

The major showpiece was the ballet Krishnaveni Vaibhavam penned by D.V. Narayana Murthy, with music composed by D.S.V. Sastry, and choreographed by Sreelatha.

Though it had been a favourite subject during the Krishna Pushkaras, it has since found place in the regular menu of Kuchipudi art. The narrative educates audience on what happens to river Krishna as she moves from her birthplace to merge with the sea. A Sutradhara leads the narrative to capture the history and geography of the river. Beginning on a traditional Kuchipudi note, the narration moves on to the triumvirate of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. Legend goes that Lord Vishnu creates a girl, names her Krishna after his own avatara and treats her as his daughter. A sage named Sahya Muni requests both Vishnu and his daughter Krishna to come down to earth in the form of a Peepal tree (Raavi Chettu in Telugu).

The second act of the ballet focused on pilgrim centres on the banks of river Krishna and their stories (sthalapuranas); Sreesailam, Amaravathi, Alampur, Vedadri, Muktyala and a few more were covered. The ballet also referred to kings and poets in their courts and their contribution to literature. Stories of Krishnadevaraya penning Amukta Malyada in Sreekakulam on the banks of the river and declaring in a verse that Telugu language the best among all the languages; the story of Kuchipudi art architect Sidhendra Yogi, the point where river Krishnaveni merges with the sea at Hamsaladeevi were significant.

The artistes, especially Ananya as Krishnaveni, Sravya as Shiva, Deekshita as Parvathi, Manasa as the sage, Amrutha, Sahithi and a few others took part in solos and group dances.

Vocal support and nuttuvangam by D.S.V. Sastry accompanied by Rajagopalacharya (mridangam), Jayakumaracharya (tabla and effects), V.B.S Murali ( flute), Dinakar (violin) and V.L. Narayana (veena) was in right proportion. The ballet required a lot of stagecraft which was handled well by Surabhi Kishore.

Derived from the Puranas

Ballets, new and old, take centrestage

Noted Kuchipudi guru Kaza Venkata Subramanyam penned and directed a dance-drama titled ‘Rukmini Kalyanam’ based on the Bhagavata Purana. He also played an important role in the production staged at Ravindra Bharathi last week under the aegis of KRKM Memorial Academy.

A major attraction in this ballet was the character of Rukmini that was donned by noted Kuchipudi exponent Koka Vijayalakshmi. Her guru Kaza Venkata Subramanyam played the role of Rukmi, elder brother of Rukmini. Noted Bharatanatyam dancer P. Pramod Reddi donned the role of Sri Krishna. Presented in the Yakshagana format, the ballet had a Sutradhara (played by G. Ravi) to connect the theme.

This hour-long ballet enacted the episode where Rukmini elopes with Krishna. Rukmini , daughter of King of Vidarbha, named Bhishmaka had been a devotee of Sri Krishna right from her childhood and wished to marry him. Though her parents consent, her brother Rukmi is against this, and plans to get her married to his friend Sisupala, king of neighbouring land of Chera. Rukmini thereafter sends a letter to Krishna through a Brahmin named Agnijyotha (K. Aswitha), requesting him to take her away on an appointed day and place and marry her.

Krishna responds positively. When he acts according to the plan, Rukmi who considers Krishna an enemy, tries to prevent the couple from escaping on a chariot and gets down to duelling with Krishna. Krishna defeats him but when about to kill him, is requested by Rukmini to spare her brother. Krishna obliges but shaves Rukmi’s head as punishment. Now the scene shifts to marriage festivities.

The theme offers few chances for Vijayalakshmi to present convincing dances. Yet, in certain scenes she impressed with her talent. Musical support by vocalists Kumara Suryanarayana and Sudharani, accompanied by Palaparti Anjaneyulu (violin) and Satyam (mridangam) was effective. Pramod displayed his talent both as dancer and dramatist.

Bharatanatyam in focus

Ballets, new and old, take centrestage

Young Shreya, disciple of Hemamalini Arni made a graceful and emotive Bharatanatyam presentation at Shilparamam. Her opening number was Vatapi Ganapathim of Dikshitar in Hamsadhwani.

She then went for a Tamil Padam Ananda natamaduvar Thillai that featured Nataraja’s dance of ecstasy in the shrine of Chidambaram. It involved some karanas too. The related composition was penned by Neelakanta Dasu and set in Poorvikalyani.

Shreya then chose to present a popular padam Chinnanchiru kiliye Kannamma that explores the emotions that parents undergo in rearing their offspring, whom poet Subramanya Bharati represented with Krishna. The number was set in Ragamalika.

She then presented Thillana choreographed by Vazhuvoor Somu Pillai with energetic muktayis interspersed with statuesque postures. This was set in raga Surati.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 1:45:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/Ballets-new-and-old-take-centrestage/article16958228.ece

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