Friday Review

Repertoire and beyond

The 17th dance festival organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Coimbatore Kendra at its auditorium featured some brilliant, thought-provoking and poignant portrayals.

On the inaugural day, Nandini Ramani, a torch bearer of the legendary T. Balasaraswati bani of Bharatanatyam, was conferred the ‘Nritya Ratna’ title by Kendra Chairman B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar.

A multi-faceted personality, Nandini Ramani has made a mark in the fields of Bharatanatyam, Carnatic music, Sanskrit theatre, research, publication and writing.

In her acceptance speech, she expressed gratitude to her guru, her nattuvanars and the accompanying artists who have helped her grow.

The three-day dance festival began with a graceful Bharatanatyam presentation by Sherin George, member of Bhavan’s faculty for Bharatanatyam.

A student of Kalakshetra, she exuded confidence and did her gurus proud with her sprightly performance. The highlight of her dance was ‘Yati’ – presentation of the various musical patterns –– Samayathi, Mridanga yathi, Damaru yathi, Gopuchcha yathi and Srotovaha yathi.

The composition ‘Aananda Koothaadum Padhamalar Kandaen’ by Guru Nandini Nagaraj, set to music by the late S. Rajaram and choreographed by Sheejit Krishna, described Lord Siva’s Ananda Tandavam and gave Sherin scope for demonstrating the various yatis.

The informative introduction added weight to her impressive performance.

Later, The troupe aptly named ‘Thandava-the Vibrance’ (Bengaluru), comprising Ananth B N, Karthik S Datar, Somasekhar C and Srinivasan Rajendran presented ‘Chaturmukhi’ (named so, as the team comprises four dancers), a performance packed with incredible energy and speed.

The group began with the traditional Pushpa Manjari, propitiating Bhoodevi, Ganesha, Siva and Saraswathi with a garland of slokas, and offered salutations to the ashtadigpalakas. The varnam, ‘ Amma Anandayini’, a composition of M. Balamuralikrishna, was handled with great skill. The dancers tried to demonstrate the rising of the kundalini through the chakras and the ecstasy experienced when it opens out in the Sahastrara chakra.

The most appealing piece was the ‘ Sootra’ that depicted Lord Nataraja’s thandava and demonstrated how the 14 syllables emerged from Siva’s Damaru .

The dancers followed it up with Tyagaraja’s Nada Tanumanisam’ and concluded with shudha nritya, through a tani avartanam (composed by G.Gurumurthy) with complicated rhythmic patterns.

The theme for the next two days, was ‘River’. The troupes interpreted the theme in different ways, adding meaning, depth and sensitivity with their performance.

Well-known Bharathanatyam exponent Karuna Sagari ’s Bhakti Natya Nikethan presented ‘Noyyal’.

For her well-researched project, Karuna Sagari roped in talented people in the fields of literature, music and percussion. The songs, specially written and composed for this project as well as those chosen from those of the saints, helped her a great deal in depicting the heyday of the Noyyal. When the team danced for Moyyaar Thadam Poygai Pukku Mugaeranna’ (Thiruvembavai), one could visualise the Noyyal, brimming with water in which people could happily bathe and play about.

Later, when she depicted how the water from the Noyyal has become so polluted that it cannot even revive a person who has fainted, the heart became heavy with regret and remorse. She concluded with ‘Nadandhaay Vaazhi Noyyalae!’, giving hope that steps would be taken to clear the path of the river and that it would be able to fill the tanks, increase the ground water level and flow unhindered, once again. The poignant portrayal of Karuna Sagari, in the form of an old lady, suffering under the ill-treatment of the humans, gave a ‘ wake-up’ call to the conscience of those who watched.

Dancers Avantika, Radha, Rithika, Mirthula, Varsha, Shambavi, Darshana, Ishwarya, Yamuna, Snehasree and Gorries did their roles perfectly.

The brilliant orchestra comprising Bhagyalakshmi (vocal support) Ramesh Babu (mridangam), Sreenivasan (violin) Sreekumar (flute) and Sivapooja (nattuvangam) was a huge plus.

Suryanarayanan’s music, with appropriate ragas to portray the various moods, added authenticity.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 12:37:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/Repertoire-and-beyond/article16441832.ece

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