Bouquet of dance forms

Gaudiya Nritya. Photo: courtesy Corporate Communications.  

The two-day Nistarini Kali Temple Dance Concert was organised by Gaudiya Nritya Bharati in association with Gaud Banga Dance Concert Academy. For the first time, a dance performance was named after and celebrated the 150-year-old Kali Temple in Kolkata.

It was staged at Kolkata’s Rabindranath Tagore Centre, ICCR, with the financial assistance of the Ministry Of Culture, Government of India, under the overall supervision of Professor Dr. Mahua Mukherjee, Dean of Fine Arts, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.

Mahua is the pioneer of Gaudiya Nritya. This Fulbright scholar had toiled for 40 years to bring this nearly extinct style to the fore with the single-handed musical support of the Gaudiya music researcher, her husband Amitava Mukherjee.

Other classical dance forms also found place at the festival. The first evening opened with the film, ‘Dance of the God’ and the second with ‘Trance in Motion.’

With well-composed languid movements, the members of Odissi Vision Movement, trained by Sharmila Biswas presented a well rehearsed ‘Shiv Parvati Sabda’, a batu nritya embellished with Parvati Sabda on the first evening.

Gaudiya Nritya Bharati, the parent institute for Gaudiya Nritya, under the direction of Mahua presented a bouquet of the dance form beginning with ‘Lalita Ananda Tandava’ by Ayan Mukherjee in raag Malhar-Bahar, taal Guchha (allied to taal Malika). Gaudiya Nritya has its own classified tala patterns, nomenclature and musical systems, but not an unfamiliar one.

The swaying of ‘Chamar’ or a Yak-tail whisk, offerings of flowers in a flat cane basket and placing earthenware vessels at the front of the performance space was a ritual - a sort of invocation before the dance. Ayan is an extremely powerful dancer, trained by his parents Mahua and Amitava. After the delightful ‘Ravankruta Shivastuti’ in Ragamala (raag Malika) by Ayan, the Satabdi Acharya group performances followed. They were ‘Alaap chari’ or pure dance in Shuddha Bongal-based Brahmataal and Balaram Bhopali in tala Rupak (here 2+4 beats), Saraswati Nibedan in the Gaudiya tala of Duthuki set to raag Bhimpalasri ( Hindustani raag) and Sachitananya Ashtakam, set to sloka ‘Ujjala Varanam Goura deham.’ The dancers displayed good training and co-ordination that was appreciated by the audience. ‘Dasavatar’ in Ragamala and taal Guchha was a gratifying, vibrant number.

Kalamandalam Gautam maintained his standard in his signature performance, ‘Putana Moksham’ in traditional Kathakali Streevesham, demonstrating fine control of his facial muscles.

Dikshitar’s ‘Ardhanarishwaram’ set to Kumudakriya, talam Rupaka by Bharatanatyam dancers Milan Adhikari and Shouraja Thakur was as scintillating as the tillana in Suratti, talam Adi.

Kathak dancer Paramita Maitra’s invocation of Lord Krishna concluded with a sufi Kalaam. Garfa Mitrayan presented ‘Radhabhavdyutisubalitam’ in the Gaudiya style, in the concept of Vipralamba Shringar of Radha, interestingly incorporating songs of Tagore but the production was ordinary. Kolkata had a rare glimpse of Kandyan Dance by Buddhi Edirisinghe, a student of Chitrasena School of Dance, Sri Lanka, who is on an ICCR scholarship to Rabindra Bharati University. His presentation was new, engaging, had novelty, as he was dressed as a female till the waist and as a male waist downwards. The concluding piece, ‘A journey to knowledge and Peace’ by Mahua Mukherjee was based on ‘Buddha Charit’ by Ashwa Ghosh on the life and teachings of Buddha was a revelation.

As a sutradhar with exhaustive support of slokas, rare songs of the sahajiya and baul genre, the dancer’s sensitive and soul-stirring abhinaya, especially when Siddhartha sees the ill and the dead, must be regarded as the best performance one has seen in a long time.

(This article has been corrected for a factual error )

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 7:27:30 AM |

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