Dance

From form to formless: the journey within

Showing the way: Hemant Kalita with his disciples Special Arrangement

Showing the way: Hemant Kalita with his disciples Special Arrangement  

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In “Antar Rang”, Kathak exponent Hemant Kalita and his disciples articulated the movement of the soul through dance and mime

Nrityangan’s Kathak presentation aptly titled “Antar Rang” was played out as a traditional repertoire with a difference and that is what spurred the audience to watch it with animated joy. Each piece unfolded itself in a petal format where the outer layers opened up leading us to the core (antar).

Guru-performer Hemant Kumar Kalita and his three disciples made for a pleasant evening of the artistes’ journey from the form to the formless. India Habitat Centre

Beginning with Krsna aradhana (invocation), the group dynamics proved to be one of perfection to rhythm, synchronisation and formation of patterns with discerning clarity. The interchanging of positions and place by the dancers, as they moved in tandem, is worth a mention.

The gradual rise to the tempo was also well-executed. Hemant’s solo footwork delineations with his disciples were agile as were his varied stances as lord Shiva to varied taal (beat). The jugalbandi was a serve and volley between the percussionist and the dancer.

The outer layer got unveiled with storytelling, the original crux of Kathak. Shreeya and Radhika Gosain enacted the gopis who deck up to carry water from the Yamuna with one hand on the pot and the other carefully holding their ghunghat (upper part of saree that covers the head) - a very sensitive portrayal done to sheer music.

From form to formless: the journey within
 

Emulating the peacock

Radhika came out as a lithe dancer with inborn talent. The tarana established the formless exploring abstract through footwork to mnemonics.

The four-fold nayaka abhinaya by Hemant where he emulates the peacock and its gait was impressive. The plight of Draupadi as she dodges the predator who has come to drag her to the royal playhouse was depicted with artistic sensitivity by the artiste who actually goes ahead to picturise the nayaka-- here the incensed husband of Draupadi.

Hemant’s abhinaya aspect was amazing as he journeyed inwards through his dance. The pensive, expectant Radha in Gopika virah geet (‘yehi murare, kunja viharey’) came alive in the dancer’s excellently diverse portrayal of Radha’s emotional levels-now hope, now despair, now pining, now total surrender to her situation and the fact that Krsna will never return.

The finale underlined the philosophy of life on earth, the culmination of all art from finite to infinite. The props on the stage were a marvellous piece of artistry.

The journey of the soul, a very abstruse element in the nature of things, was brought out by Hemant in a most articulate manner through dance and mime. The Adi Sankara’s Nirvana Shatkam was the right choice to underline the completion of human life through realisation of its (atma) true form. A very difficult task successfully accomplished by the artiste.

Having worked with a thematic title, it would have been even more profound if the choreographer stuck to the storytelling to illustrate the outer/physical aspect and move on to the inner through abhinaya as he did here, rather than having too many pieces in the customary Kathak style. An attempt to think out of the box is appreciated provided it is not burdened with the customary repertoire. It can mar the focus of the issue to be presented.

A live orchestra with Goutam Biswas on the tabla and Akram Hussain on the sarangi proved to be an asset.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 5:33:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/from-form-to-formless-the-journey-within/article30294742.ece

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