Dance

Picture perfect!

NOSTALGIA ON STAGE Rina Jana recreated the old world charm of Odissi for which her Guru was known   | Photo Credit: INNI SINGH

Ten minutes into Rina Jana’s Odissi and the incomparable Samjukta Panigrahi comes to mind if you happen to be an Odissi dance aficionado! The style is similar since both belong to Guru Kelucharan school. While it is difficult to envisage Panigrahi’s choreographies in the lapse of so many decades, Rina emerges as a brilliant teacher and an aesthetic, original choreographer, going by her pupils’ dance numbers to her creative work.

Her solo – a pallavi and an Odia song showcased her nritta and abhinaya excellence. Her footwork repertoire was varied, rooted in the classical tradition with no artistic liberties whatsoever. Every move was markedly defined by the tribhangi and the chowka which have become almost apologetic of late in the new crop of dancers. The hasta mudra were crystal clear –– there was no racy disposal of the avarrhan. She traversed the three cycles of speed in the languid idiom of Odissi which was so refreshing to watch. The postures as she froze into a sculpturesque stance were enchanting. In a word, Rina recreated the old world charm of Odissi for which her Guru was known. The dancer’s off-white costume only enhanced her dancing.

Natural performance

The mime to the Odia song, a lullaby, which speaks of mother Yasoda’s attempts to put her child Krishna asleep, through mock fright was so natural that the audience got totally engrossed in the song as she proceeded with it, now imitating an eagle swooping down to carry away a naughty little child who refused to go to bed; a bull who would break into the house if it found out that there was a child who wouldn't sleep and so on. The cradle-tugging act, the momentary relief that Krishna finally closed his eyes, only to stare wide awake once the mother heaves herself up – all such minute details of a young mother and child were brought out with utmost beauty in her abhinaya. However, the cliché pranks of child Krishna could have been avoided in the end. So also, a tiptoeing Yasoda walking out of the room finally would have been more convincing than her carrying a basket/pot as the exit scene.

Rina Jana

Rina Jana  

Rina’s choreographic brilliance came to the fore in her pupils’s Dashavatar, the Ashtapadi (”Dheera sameere…”) and the Ananda Bhairavi ‘Moksha’ piece. The run-up to the Dashavatar where the group comes on stage with boy dancers clanging the cymbals and girls with garlands in hand made for an aesthetic opening scene. Post interpretation of each of the avatar, the group came together to culminate in a formation of the avatar which was striking. The peacock dance for the Ananda Bhairavi which finally shows the spiritual path was a fine transcendence from the mundane beauty to the ethereal. The highlight of the evening was the group’s “Gatibheda Pallavi” set to Rageswari, an entirely pure dance where the footwork and gestures kept shifting seamlessly to the changing pace (gati bhedh). A very complex and challenging piece, it was a pleasure to watch the pupils form patterns and steps in absolute sync. The sway so typical of fine Odissi and the curvaceous movements spelt out the able guru in Rina Jana.

Be it the solo or group, the presentation under the aegis of Sangeet Natak Akademi at Meghdoot theatre was picture perfect, a thing of beauty and joy forever!

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 11:35:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/picture-perfect/article17745518.ece

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