Ananda Shankar Jayant and her group of dedicated students of Shankarananda Kalakshetra staged Navarasa - Expressions of Life at the three-day dance festival hosted by the PS Telugu University at the Ravindra Bharathi Thursday last. In this brilliant piece of work, the dancers through the mnemonics of music, body kinetics and pure dance ( nritta ) breathed life into the nine moods. Ananda and her group through their dance made a statement that dance could be performed without mythology and lyrics on pure Bharatanatyam grammar. Returning to the city once again, Navarasa engaged the audiences to relate to their own emotions of everyday life.
The lively presentation that lasted forty minutes conveyed not just the principal emotions but also the intricate points of each Bhava (expression). Each emotion of life began with the relevant verse from the Natya Shastra . The presentation opened with the strong emotion of Raudra (anger). Violent facial expressions, strong bends, the stomping of the legs expressed the fierce events on the battlefield. The draping of a red scarf onto an iron frame stressed the vibrant rasa .
Every rasa from the Bhayanaka (fear), Adbhuta (wonder), Bhibasta (disgust), Veera (courage), Karuna (pity), Hasya (happiness), Shringara (love) and Shanta (Peace) were depicted in various scarf colours and draped onto the iron frame one after another. The black scarf represented fear, while Adbhuta in yellow emitted positivity. The dancers depicting Veera danced to the beats of five. The audience was in splits when the Hasya rasa was emoted. The comic movements of the dancers featured puppets and hops combined with the raga Katanakutuhalam . Shringara was followed by the last rasa Shantam where the performance ended invoking peace.
One must appreciate that the dance emphasised on many abhinaya techniques. For Ananda Shankar and her group, the body became an appliance to discover how each part transformed for every emotion. One could see equal emphasis on the jaw, neck, eyebrows and foot performed with ease. The Padma Shri awardee’s concept and shrewd direction was flawless. The Navrasa came to life with Prema Ramamurthy’s music consisting of swaras.
At the end of the performance, the guru introduced the accompanying dancers and supporting staff.