Expressive face, gliding moves

Charming performance: Ameera Patankar

Charming performance: Ameera Patankar  


Ameera Patankar and Shalaka Rai impressed with their evocative body kinetics and gestures at the Aarambh Series

As part of Raza Foundation’s Aarambh series at Triveni Kala Sangam, we had a slice of Kathak and Odissi presented by Ameera Patankar and Shalaka Rai respectively. Ameera seemed every bit a chip of the old block hailing as she does from Shama Bhate school. Her Kathak was refreshing from the routine delineations both in abhinaya and nritta (pure dance).

Beginning with Ram Vandan where the dancer squats to emulate ritualistic worship of the lord Rama in keeping with the Dusshera with popular Sanskrit mangalam, Ameera was grace personified. Her expressive face suffused with devotion made an impression on the audience.

Her display of the technique which is an integral part of the Kathak repertoire of every gharana was not just mastery over footwork but the very evocative body kinetics and gestures. The artiste seemed to speak to her bhol and gestures as she undertook to translate the percussionist’s challenges into dance on stage with extreme agility.

Her Paran was racy and excellent, to say the least. Her sway to the taal in repose attracted attention. She took up rare pieces for exposition and came out with flying colours. The thumri ‘Aisi more range hain shyam...’ was depicted with sensitivity, dwelling upon finer details as the song goes on. Like, for instance, the nayika who is besotted with love and longing for her beloved, not just decks herself but also her home as dusk falls and awaits her ‘Shyam’.

Her abhinaya painted a picture of the environs as well as the emotional state of being of the nayika. The charming gait to the refrain ‘kajra morey, bindiya morey..’, the petting of the parrot and flying it away, emulating Lord Krsna’s attire as she works her footwork was a brilliant piece of exposition of the thumri. The artiste should be more attentive to her facial expression ( a frown indicating stress) in executing pieces of pure dance techniques (nritta) through rigorous footwork. The live orchestra enhanced the performance.

Shalaka’s opening invocation with Jagannath Ashtakam followed by Ragamalika Pallavi was marked by artistic movements and convincing abhinaya, like the chariot of Puri Jagannath being tugged and the worship in detail. Her entry was impressive with its measured foot movement and gliding moves.

However, the dancer was not able to gauge the centre of the stage and most of her dance was done to the left, close to the orchestra. She should also take greater care with her foot-raising steps which were going rather awkwardly high up especially as she was executing her retreat backwards. There was no sign of her enacting the square posture which is said to be representing lord Jagannath, even during the very first piece. The orchestra proved to be an asset, all through.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:27:39 AM |

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