Music

Colourful voyage through rivers

The performances by various schools stressed the need to preserve the sources of water. writes

Students of ‘Saraswati Kalalaya,’ Coimbatore, presented a thematic Bharatanatyam performance, ‘Cauvery’, on the second day of the 17th Dance festival organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Coimbatore Kendra. They began depicting how River Cauvery, originally known as Ponni, got contained in the kamandalam of Agasthya due to her arrogance, and how Lord Ganesha, in the guise of a crow, set her free. As the water flowed wide across its banks, it came to be known as Kaa-viri. Then the dancers presented keerthanas on the deities residing in the kshetras (Srirangam -Yaen Palli Kondeer Aiyaa and Mayiladuthurai -Abhayam Alikkum Abhayaambikaiyae) situated on the banks of Cauvery. The activities of the temples and the people of these towns were presented realistically. The worship of Goddess Cauvery during the Thula month and the temple procession were impressive.

Guru S. Murali (disciple of Amutha Dandapani) had arranged the dance sequences beautifully, focussing on the divinity attached to the river and the need to keep it clean and flowing. S. Murali (nattuvangam) was accompanied by J. Aravind (vocal support), G.R. Naveen (mridangam), Sivaramakrishnan (violin) and Srikanth (special effects).

Mokshadayini Gange’, by the students of Abhyasa Academy of Classical Dance, was a visual extravaganza. Conceived and choreographed by Guru Lavanya Sankar with compositions by percussionist K. Parthasarathy, the presentation dealt with the origin of the sacred river, the lifestyles of the people residing on its banks and concluded with the spectacular Ganga Aarathi.

The troupe presented two versions of Gangashtakam, one by Kalidasa and the other by Adi Sankara. The slokas by Kalidasa were interwoven with an alarippu. ‘Tunga Tarangae Gangae’ by Sadasiva Brahmendral included sancharis describing the origin of Ganga. The dancers used the phrase ‘Dooreekritha Jana Paapa Samoohae’ to depict how the 60,000 sons of King Sagara were burnt to ashes by Rishi Kapila due to their imperiousness and how, due to the rigorous penance of Bhagiratha, River Ganga came down from the heavens, got contained in Siva’s matted locks and flowed with reduced force into the netherworld, dissolving the ashes of Sagara’s sons and giving them liberation.

The three stanzas from ‘Gangashtakam’ by Adi Sankara reiterated the efficacy of the river to dissolve one’s sins. The concluding formation of Ganga sitting on the Makara Vahana was beautiful.

Kaala Bhairava Ashtakam (also by Adi Sankara) was full of lively jatis. After the delightful ‘Maa Ganga Kaasi Padhaarae,’ the dancers presented ‘Ganga Aarathi’ with the chanting of ‘Om Jai Gangae Maataa.’ Lavanya had used appropriate props that added to the appeal. It was an involved depiction by the dancers: Lakshmi Shree Vikranth, Sara Shivitkumar, Ramya Padmanaban, Saumya Hariharan, Varsha P Uday Kumar, Divya Varshini K, Saujanya Sabarinath and Madhumitha. Lavanya (nattuvangam) had an impressive orchestra with Saswathi Jagadish and Anish Menon (vocal support), K. Parthasarathy (mridangam), Ishwar Rao (sitar) and Atul Kumar (flute).

Temple of Fine Arts, Shivanjali, Coimbatore, did a neat job with the vast theme ‘River’. The group wove the presentation ‘Our Rivers-our treasure’, around seven sacred rivers, getting inspiration from the sloka,‘Gangae cha Yamunae chaiva Godavari Saraswati..’ They focussed on the legends surrounding the rivers, the people living on their banks, the present deplorable condition of these rivers and how to rejuvenate and bring back the days of glory.

The story of Bhagiratha was depicted for Ganga while the episode on Yamuna centered around the love of Krishna and Radha. The legends of the other rivers followed.

Towards the end, the presentation focussed on the damages done to these rivers in the name of pollution, politics, industrialisation and utilisation. The programme concluded with a pledge to conserve, treasure and maintain our rivers as a legacy to be handed down to future generations.

Almost 40 students participated in this presentation that comprised various dance styles, costumes, languages and techniques. The informative script did half the job for the troupe.

Guru Kamakshi Jayaraman’s choreography was beautiful and it is to her credit that in spite of packing so much and including so many artistes, the scenes did not appear crowded. It was a crisp presentation with the students flitting across the stage, doing their roles with commitment.

Smt Nandini Ramani conducted a two-day workshop in the mornings on ‘Aananda Natana Prakasham’, a krithi by Muthuswami Dikshithar . It was attended by well-known dancers as well as young learners. They were awarded certificates on the final day.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 2:32:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/Colourful-voyage-through-rivers/article16464550.ece

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