Dance

High on spiritual quotient

CHENNAI: 17/12/16: Brahmaswi, group dance presentation by Sridevi Nrithyodaya at Bharat Kalachar, in Chennai. Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN

‘Brahmasmi’ by Sridevi Nrithyalaya was a treat – a visual spectacle thanks to excellent dance, absolute devotion and harmony.

It is Margazhi, when the devotional quotient is at an all time high - and the venue was Bharat Kalachar, a sabha that promotes tradition and the spiritual flavour. And then it was a production that did not preach. It was all of 90 minutes, time well spent.

The self is verily the Absolute

Beginning at the Infinite

Proceeding unto Infinity

Aided by Infinity alone and remaining eternally Infinite

This encapsulates the theory of non-duality or Advaita as put down in the scriptures and this essence was taken up in the grammar of Bharatanatyam in the simplest manner, which kept the audience riveted.

Sheela Unnikrishnan ensures that her productions have racy nritta performed by students who are disciplined and devoted. There is no room for laxity, which generally mars group formations. The hand movements here were especially so well coordinated that they flowed with liquid grace.

‘Brahmasmi’ drew upon the Asothoma slokam, Aham Atma Goodakesa from the Bhagavad Gita, Brahma Sutra, Aropavathe, the teachings of Adi Sankara, his life and how he attained diksha and his path thereafter, the teachings of Sage Vasishta as found in Yoga Vaasishta, where a young Rama is taught about the worldly attractions and their ephemeral nature, ending with the Omnipresent Brahman, a realisation that results in sat-chit-anandam, the transcendental stage of Eternal Bliss through Consciousness.

With musical score by Embar Kannan, - the production displayed the adherence and reverence to the art form in full measure.

The costumes were glitzy but were not out of place in the kind of choreography that was done to show the different aspects of the central theme.

Says Sheela, “Two years ago, the priest at the Kamakshi temple in Kanchipuram spoke about this concept. And I have seen Padma Subrahmanyam do this theme of Advaita. So it was always on my mind and decided to stage it this year.

Embar Kannan was the perfect choice to do the music as there is so much scope for instrumental interludes and background score and he is so good at it.”

Good vocal support (the nattuvangam-orchestra part was recorded) came from Madhu Balakrishnan, G. Srikanth, Sravan, Ashwath Narayanan, Deepika Varadarajan, Roopa and Revathi.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 12:57:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/High-on-spiritual-quotient/article16925640.ece

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