Dance

Interesting dimensions to the landscape

The rich imagery, full of metaphors that unfolds while reading Sangam Poetry, has inspired artistes, dancers in particular, to put on their creative cap. The five types of landscapes, based on geographical divisions — Kurinji( mountain), Mullai (forests), Neithal (sea-coast), Paalai (desert) and Marudham (farm land) — also reflect the emotions, habits and culture of each region. Vasanthalakshmi and Narasimhachari had choreographed a Natya Nadakam called ‘Ainthinai — Landscape of Emotions,’ which was presented recently by IDA’s Madras Chapter at Narada Gana Sabha.

Formed by Leela Sekar in 1986, the Madras Chapter of International Dance Alliance (IDA) has Radhika Shurajit as the president, Nalli Kuppuswamy Chettiar as the chairperson and Revathi Ramachandran and Gayatri Kannan as advisory council members. The show, in tune with IDA’s ideology of promoting friendship and cooperation among the dancers, brought together artistes and disciples from different institutions on a common platform.

The storyline, based on a chieftain’s daughters falling in love, getting married, the couple’s separation when the hero goes on a voyage, encounters shipwreck, which causes despair and finally reunion, gives immense scope for an exciting production, and the Narasimhacharis had choreographed it many years ago.

Huge cast

“We had decided not to repeat jatis and swaras and work at different permutations and combinations. This made the whole process challenging,” said Vasanthalakshmi. From the introductory performance by five dancers, daughters of senior dancers, the production with eight male dancers, five dancing couples and 45 disciples of dance gurus, totalling to a huge cast of 63 in all, carried the narrative forward in an impressive manner. It is not an easy task to coordinate the movements of the dancers from different schools. If the artistes and the scenes moved, all seamlessly from one landscape to another, the credit goes to Vasanthalakshmi and daughters Lasya and Lavanya.

Musically too, the use of lyrics in five different languages for each section was an interesting dimension. Kumbakonam A Gajendran (Tamil), P.P. Sridhar Upadhyaya (Kannada), Kavi Aravindakshan (Malayalam), Rajaram Shankaran (Hindi) and Pappu Venugopala Rao and Vasanthalakshmi (Telugu) share the honours. To add interest each section was laced with folk dances relevant to the region. So the kurathi dance, fisherfolk dance, the Kali ritual dance and more added vigour to the show.

The beautiful blue costume and silver jewellery, the rhythmic crashing of the waves finding visual resonance in the choreographic movements and shades of blue in the backdrop during the fisherfolk dance were aesthetic . Looking at a white screen as a backdrop, there was a feeling of apprehension about the images that would fill it, but it was commendable that it was used as a canvas to paint colours with the play of lights. A subtle image of each landscape served as a visual introduction to the scene and Murugan did a fine job with his lighting design.

The continuous flow of sequences and good quality of dancing kept the momentum alive, but the storyline got swept away in the process. The emotions were not fully exploited. Therefore the connect with the audience remained only at a visual level. The costume, for most part of the show, was aesthetically designed by the Narasimhacharis, who had also sponsored it, and honorarium for male dancers.

Dr S.N. Rao and Shobha Rao had sponsored the multi-lingual audio recording and Nalli Kuppuswamy Chettiar the IDA event.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 3:32:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/using-landscapes-to-convey-emotions/article24641850.ece

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