Dance

Spectrum of classical dance

Bharatanatyam recital by Dakshina Vaidyanathan on the tenth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival organised by Soorya India.

Bharatanatyam recital by Dakshina Vaidyanathan on the tenth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival organised by Soorya India.  

The 40th annual Soorya Dance and Music Festival featured experienced dancers who showcased the artistry and high points of different streams of Indian classical dance.

For followers of classical dance in Thiruvananthapuram, the season starts in the initial weeks of October, as Soorya hosts its annual dance and music festival. It was no different this time and the dance segment of the 40th edition of the festival featured some fine soloists and group presentations across different classical dance streams.

Bharatanatyam

Rama Vaidyanathan

Dance fiesta: Vignettes of the dance performances that were performed in connection with the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram. (Clockwise from top) Ballet presented by Abhinaya School of Bharatnatyam; ‘Sookshma’ by Sanjali Dance Ensemble; Kathak by Ghungroo Dance Academy; Manju Warrier; Meenakshi Srinivasan; Rama Vaidyanathan; Priyadarsini Govind and Daksha Vaidyanathan. Photos: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

Dance fiesta: Vignettes of the dance performances that were performed in connection with the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram. (Clockwise from top) Ballet presented by Abhinaya School of Bharatnatyam; ‘Sookshma’ by Sanjali Dance Ensemble; Kathak by Ghungroo Dance Academy; Manju Warrier; Meenakshi Srinivasan; Rama Vaidyanathan; Priyadarsini Govind and Daksha Vaidyanathan. Photos: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri  

When it comes to classical dancers, Rama Vaidyanathan needs no introduction and the dance fiesta got off to a fine start with her recital. She chose to present some of her own time-tested works and opened with ‘Ardhanareeswara Ashtakam’. Often seen as a closing number along with a thillana, Rama made it an absorbing opening piece by incorporating a few additional jathis and thoughtful abhinaya passages. In ‘Navarasa Mohana’, the main piece, she presented reactions of various onlookers as Krishna enters the arena to fight Kamsa.

The focus being on the nine rasas, Rama once again shone in abhinaya segments. In 'Mukhathai Kattiye' and ‘Saddu Madalu’, she was flawless in presenting the heroines, who do not mind sarcastically questioning Tyagesa or playfully scolding Rangesa. However, she seemed to be not her usual self during the dance portions and had a restful approach, particularly in ‘Sivoham’, the final piece.

Meenakshi Srinivasan

Her recitals were an attraction of Soorya’s Parampara festival over the last few years and this time she found a place in the prime festival. The main heroine of her recital was from Dandayudapani Pillai’s varnam ‘Moham Aginen...’ (Kharaharapriya, Adi). Meenakshi presented her heroine in total submission to the deity.

Bharatanatyam recital by Meenakshi Srinivasan on the fourth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram.

Bharatanatyam recital by Meenakshi Srinivasan on the fourth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram.  

Afraid of none, she asks her sakhi when would that handsome man who dances in the sanctum come and embrace her! Jathis came in right proportion and she was seen in full flow, not missing a beat and not leaving an inch of the stage uncovered! ‘Sudama - the Karmayogi’ narrated the familiar story of Krishna and Kuchela. Kuchela returns after meeting Krishna and the story concludes with Kuchela finding his family in comfortable circumstances thanks to the blessing of Lord Krishna.

The danseuse took some liberty to extend it further and presented an alternative case, which was also a possibility. She wondered what would happen if Kuchela returned and found his family still trying to make ends meet.

The dancer then speculated whether it would have made any difference in Kuchela. She realised that since Kuchela was a true devotee, a Karmayogi, he would have felt the same and it would make no dent in his devotion to Krishna.

Meenakshi also did two pure dance pieces at the beginning and at the end.

Priyadarshini Govind

The danseuse hinted that she was experiencing some personal grief during her concluding remarks, and it explained why she decided to do only abhinaya pieces, that too without a live orchestra.

Bharatanatyam by Priyadarsini Govind on the eighth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram.

Bharatanatyam by Priyadarsini Govind on the eighth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram.  

Her choices varied from javalis to padams to poems to nindastuti and she did a commendable job under the circumstances.

Dakshina Vaidyanathan

Instantly grabbing the attention of the viewers with a vibrant and expressive Devi stuti, Dakshina moved on to Swati Tirunal’s ‘Pannagendra Sayana’. Varied emotions of passionate love and deep devotion were brought into the ashtaragamalika piece and the best part was when she portrayed the heroine dreaming of her beloved coming to meet her.

The recorded music, though not of the best quality, did not seem to bother her much and not only during the dance pieces, but also in abhinaya segments, Dakshina made it all in sync.

Lord Rama decides to leave for the forest without even thinking of Sita and in ‘Eppadi manam thunindado?’, the danseuse efficaciously conveyed the displeasure of Sita.

‘Lament to the birds’ had the nayika sharing her sentiments with her pet birds and Dakshina concluded with a cheerful thillana set to raga Murali, a composition of M. Balamuralikrishna.

Group presentations

‘Sookshma’

‘Sookshma’, an Odissi dance ballet, told the story of Chenni, a village girl who earns a magical boon from the goddess of Nature for her devotion. The dance production, conceived and choreographed by Sharmila Mukerjee and presented by her along with members of Sanjali Dance Ensemble, was based on the folktale ‘A Flowering Tree’ by A.K. Ramanujan.

'Sookshma', an Odissi dance ballet by Sanjali Dance Ensemble on the fifth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram. The ensemble had Sharmila Mukerjee in the lead along with Abhaya Lakshmi M.B., Srijita Sanyal, Suranjana Endow, Ravishankar B.T., Shubha Nagarajanâ, Veena Surya, Preeti Banerjee, Swagata Chakraborty, Megha Mehta, Karishma Iyer and Debashrita Swain.

'Sookshma', an Odissi dance ballet by Sanjali Dance Ensemble on the fifth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram. The ensemble had Sharmila Mukerjee in the lead along with Abhaya Lakshmi M.B., Srijita Sanyal, Suranjana Endow, Ravishankar B.T., Shubha Nagarajanâ, Veena Surya, Preeti Banerjee, Swagata Chakraborty, Megha Mehta, Karishma Iyer and Debashrita Swain.  

The production draws parallels between a woman and a tree, in an attempt to show how both are mistreated and exploited by man/humans.

The way the ballet unfolded made this metaphoric connection clear to the viewers.

Sharmila Mukerjee as Sookshma, the goddess, Abhaya Lakshmi as Chenni, and Srijita Sanyal, Suranjana Endow and Shubha Nagarajan in supporting roles were able to strike a rapport with the audience.

With some picturesque scenes and joyful dance sequences in between, the production had enough to make it a worthy watch.

Unfortunately, the stage setting and lighting left much to be desired.

Abhinayaa

Bharatanatyam dance ballet presented by Abhinayaa School of Bharatanatyam on the sixth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival organised by Soorya. The dance ballet had Jayalakshmi Eshwar and Padmapriya Janakiraman in the lead along with Sreeja Sreenivasan, Bhuvaneswari Natarajan, Sudipta Chakraborty, Shwetha Gopalakrishnan and Anannya Chatterjee.

Bharatanatyam dance ballet presented by Abhinayaa School of Bharatanatyam on the sixth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival organised by Soorya. The dance ballet had Jayalakshmi Eshwar and Padmapriya Janakiraman in the lead along with Sreeja Sreenivasan, Bhuvaneswari Natarajan, Sudipta Chakraborty, Shwetha Gopalakrishnan and Anannya Chatterjee.  

Bharatanatyam group recital by Abhinayaa group had Jayalakshmi Eshwar and Padmapriya in the lead along with five others. As it appeared, the idea was to make an appealing package to a wider audience and the items were aptly chosen with this in mind. Padmapriya had more to do with two solo pieces and being a part of few other group numbers. With creditable balance, involvement and maneuvering skills she had her moments, despite the limitations of recorded music. The other dancers came together and kept things lively with vibrant moves and formations. While Jayalakshmi certainly deserves credit for her choreography, her on-stage presence could not make much of an impact.

Kathak

Madhumita Roy and her team of dancers of Ghungroo Dance Academy had a promising start with their Kathak group recital. It was a piece lauding Maheswar and another one packed with signature spins. However, the recital started to fall apart as they moved ahead, with the dancers failing to get their act together.

Kathak ballet presented by Ghungroo Dance Academy on the seventh day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvanathapuram. The ballet had Madhumita Roy in the lead along with Amit Das, Prasenjit Majumder, Debaruna Sengupta, Suchandra Bose, Arpita Maity and Shreya Adhya.

Kathak ballet presented by Ghungroo Dance Academy on the seventh day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvanathapuram. The ballet had Madhumita Roy in the lead along with Amit Das, Prasenjit Majumder, Debaruna Sengupta, Suchandra Bose, Arpita Maity and Shreya Adhya.  

Kuchipudi

Manju Warrier made her entry on to the stage and a packed audience greeted her with delirious applause. The hall was full hours before her performance began. The danseuse responded to this by stepping up her dance, if not by leaps and bounds, at least to some extent. She herself introduced the pieces and tried out a few specially choreographed numbers.

Kuchipudi recital by Manju Warrier on the ninth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kuchipudi recital by Manju Warrier on the ninth day of the 40th Soorya Dance and Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram.  

Her agility on stage and her standstill postures were a delight to watch. The recital featured two dance numbers showing the blissful dance of Ganesha and Siva, the main piece extolling the virtues of Krishna, ‘Sa Virahe...’, showing Radha suffering from the pangs of separation and a thillana in raga Kamas.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 7:16:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/Spectrum-of-classical-dance/article15500660.ece

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