Dance

Back in time

A scene from the show by Abhinav. Photo: Special Arrangement

A scene from the show by Abhinav. Photo: Special Arrangement  

A delightful representation of an ancient performing art form.

V ilasini Nrutyam was a first of its kind from Anubhav, a dance organisation that put up a show at Thyagaraya Ganasabha recently to acquaint audience about how the ancient devadasis presented ritual dances in a temple, following Agama Sastra. The show was presented to mark Dr. Arudra's Jayanti, a well known poet who travelled to these areas and prepared their ethnography and collected information on compositions they were presenting with their cultural background and named this as ‘Vilasini Nrutyam'.

Noted danseuse Swapna Sundari, a Padma Bhushan awardee, accompanied him and picked up the style and compositions from female dancers of yesteryears in an effort to revive this ancient dance format of coastal Andhra.

Baliharana Seva opened the show. It was in fact Ashta Dikpalaka seva which the dancers of the yore used to perform. Swapna Sundari brought the whole thing into practice. All the six girls performed this number.

Melukolupu, awakening song addressing Lord Vishnu, was presented by Usha, Girija and Poojita. This was a stage adaptation of what they were presenting at a temple in the city, annually. It is abhinaya oriented, invocatory in nature.

Of the Choornika and Pallavi that followed, Choornika was made up of an invocatory slokam naming the flowers that the Lord was worshipped with. This was choreographed by Swapna Sundari. It was traditional number originally taught by Ranganayakamma that was in practice in a temple in Tiruttani. Swapna choreographed the same. Choornika was pure nritta, bringing in Adavus and jaties and is called Sabda Pallavi, in Anandabhairavi ragam. Poorva Dhanasri presented it with alacrity.

Philosophical content

Pallaki Seva that came next was a dance traditionally presented in front of the palanquin carrying the Lord preceding its departure. This was a solo number brilliantly presented by Anupama Kailash. It was a composition of Sadasiva Brahmendra in Surati, with philosophical content in depicting Krishna as omnipotent God in all streams of Philosophy of Advaitam. The abhinaya of this was interspersed with jaties between stanzas. Two girls were made to stand holding the palanquin of Krishna, to create an imaginary situation of dancers performing before it. Kumbha Harati in that order, as if receiving God, was taken up by Girija, Usha and Poojita who danced to Mallaari before the palanquin. This was set in Gambhiranata, Misrachapu Talam.

Hecharika, an abhinaya item set to Misrachapu was presented by Yasoda Thakur. It was the composition of Bhojadasu with Pallavi running as Hecharika Hecharika Indira Bala that pleads with Lord not to leave her alone.

Madhurashtakam of Vallabhacharya was the final number presented by all six dancers.

Anupama choreographed the number that ran through a raga chain of melody based Hamirakalyani, Desh, Valaji and Bhagesri.

The show was presented to pre-recorded music with Raghunandan doing nattuvangam to Sridhracharya's mridangam. Chander Rao provided vocal support with Murali on flute and Siva on violin.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 1:43:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/back-in-time/article2455871.ece

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