Dance

Mime, music, movement… global path

One of the karanas, Jatayu Vadam. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The music and movements for Pushpanjali set the tone for ‘Viswamargam,’ presented recently at the Narada Gana Sabha. The entry of Mahati took one back to vintage Padma days when she used to sway to the rhythmic ‘jai jai kita’ of Shyamala Balakrishnan. What followed was a microcosm of Padma Subrahmanyam’s work spanning 63 years, 62 of which she has spent in the research of Bharata’s Natyasastra, faithfully recreated by Team Nrityodaya. Led by Padma, Vinith and Gayathri Kannan, the students gave the essence of Natyasastra, in the process proving that it is a much alive work that allows the artist scope to depict whatever intended.

(Scene from Sakuntalam.)

The highlight was of course the 108 karanas, popularised by Padma. Nimble footed artists twisted, turned and even executed somersaults to depict a bird in flight, the slithering snake, the swimming fish and a preening peacock. They also froze in postures for that lingering flavour. There was no dearth of bhava as eyes and limbs spoke to convey emotions. Navarasa expressed through the life situations of Sri Rama was an interesting perspective brilliantly executed.

(Scene from Jatayu Vadam.)

Kalidasa’s Sakuntala captured the element of drama that Bharata’s magnum opus contains. Kanva’s hermitage briefly becomes a cauldron of emotions as the sage struggles with his paternal feelings for a daughter about to leave, Sakuntala is unable to tear herself away from her foster parents, the flora and the fauna. The baby deer that clung to her garment was a poignant moment.

As icing on the cake came Gajendra Moksham and Jatayu Vadham in which the veteran swayed to Japanese and Russian music to emphasise that the spirit of Natyasastra is universal. Nrityodaya’s presentation that evening would go down as a point of reference for posterity.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 1:58:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/emphasising-the-essence-of-natyasastra/article7561385.ece

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