National Gallery of Modern Art in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Aatmalaya Academy of Art and Culture Trust presented “Dance Festival - Nivedita’.
Aatmalaya has been presenting programmes commemorating iconic personalities like Dr. Abdul Kalam, Dr. Munshi, Sarojini Devi and this year’s icon is Margaret Noble reincarnated as Sister Nivedita and in her memory, they very creatively choreographed thematic anecdotal dances. This Irish born grand lady a wonderful disciple of Swami Vivekananda, was truly dedicated to India and Indians, was also the architect of India’s National Education policy in many ways.
Highly seasoned artists from Kolkata, Delhi, Mysore, Kerala and from Bangalore, in all seven teams of artists participated in these specially composed dance recitals. The programme commenced with ‘Nivedana’, a Bharatanatyam dance performance by Dr. Soundarya Srivatsava whose opening piece was the invocatory Ganesha sthuti “Gambhira Gana Nayakam’ paying obeisance to Lord Ganapati. Full of verve and strength, Soundaya’s portrayal of Ganesha attributes was beautiful. It was followed by a short presentation on Sister Nivedita, as a pioneer in empowering women, as a true disciple of Swami Vivekananda and how she dedicated her entire life to the cause of the underprivileged with the blessings of Mata Sharada Devi. The electrifying song “Jana Samaanatha, Jana Sammodita, Mana prabhaasita, Devi Nivedita” was rendered on Natuvangam and vocal and supported by mridangam and flute.
Oddissi performance by Nrutyasri Monalisa Ghosh - the delineation of the sacred Sanskrit verse on Ardhanaareshwara “Champeya gaurardha sareerakayay”. Monalisa Ghosh’s histrionic sensibility came forth with a force while depicting Lord Shiva and very subtly while extolling the attributes of Devi Parvathi, graceful at once and very powerful the next - karuna and roudra, natya and lasya, the evocation of two bhavas was very impressive. She also gave a presentation depicting the early period of Nivedita when she met with Sharada Devi and learnt about Stree Shakti.
Then followed the performance by Padmaja Suresh, Director of Aatmaalaya. Replete with very fine expressions, sculpturesque postures, grace, rhythm and style that come with years of dedication and discipline, she presented two evocative items. “ eva muni vanditam Jagannatham’ in Shanmukhapriya that had shown her in full flourish of artistry. The traditional structure of the recital was enriched with exemplary fullness of expressions and abhinaya. The choreographic prowess of Padmaja Suresh was clearly vivid as she elaborated in full, the song ‘Bhooloka kumari naari..’, that showcased how the great Tamil poet and freedom fighter Sri Subramanya Bharatiyar was inspired by Sister Nivedita and dedicated many of his books to her memory, how Bharatiyar felt that she was the one golden figure among British like a Vibheeshana in Ravana’s team. It was a perfect eulogy offered to the exalted personality.
Annamanada Parameswara Marar (posthumous), Yendamuri Subba Rao, Kotipalii Ratnam were the recepients of the Atmalaya awards.
Two young musicians Satvik V. and Sarvesh V. presented a theme song –“I am alive, I am satisfied about how the world’s been to me” composed by Satvik and rendered by Sarvesh. It was heartening to note their palpable zest and vigour that was required to render such profoundly impacting song that was well received by the audience. Satvik played the keyboard and guitar.
In ‘Mohiniyattam’ Vinaya Narayanan and group reflected on life lessons of Nivedita. As the portrayal of Guru-Sishya relation between Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita, there were two presentations. Solo Bharatnatyam performance by Bhushan was powerful and redolent with great expressions and movements as he performed to the devout kriti composed by Mysore Vasudevacharya – ‘Brochevaarevaruraa..’ conveying the guru shishya bhava between God and devotee, seeking to get merged and engulfed in the Supreme.
Harpreet Jass, in her Kathak recital paid tribute through an enactment for an English composition.
The Aatmalaya student ensemble rendered hymns from Vedas and Upanishads that were favourites for Vedantins like Nivedita. Bhushan and Harpreet signed off well donning the costumes of Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita showing her being guided to Indian Vedanta by Swami Vivekananda.
Each presentation continued the narrative effectively, taking care to provide fine representation of all the good work done by Sister Nivedita who loved our land dearly.
This kind of programs give a fillip to the feelings of national pride, kindling emotions and thoughts in a creatively benign way.