Dance

Many paths

Innovative grace: From Rajkumar Singhajit Singh's presentation "Nayika Mala". Photo courtesy Sangeet Natak Akademi  

Priti Patel, one of Manipuri dance’s most gifted choreographers with an aesthetic eye, on the occasion of the Festival of Music, Dance and Drama by Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Fellowship recipients, stuck to the traditional numbers invoking Krishna and Vishnu, and talas Tanchep, Teen tala and Menkup. Unfortunately, the slightly heavier figure makes a difference to the delightfully light-footed dancer she was, particularly as Krishna. In the Telina, and the kavits, the pung playing and the singing were all of top quality, as was Priti’s costume sense.

Alekhya Punjala, with the innumerable gadgets ornamenting her hair and the needless elaboration in the Sadashiva Brahmendra composition, clearly lost the plot in the prolonged birth pangs and death scene in portraying that life’s fears from birth to death are lightened by the Rama chant. She, however, has an undoubted graceful feel for mukhaabhinaya. The earlier Oothukadu Venkatasubbaiyer composition, in Pantuvarali, imaging Krishna with the gopa yuvati, was more complete — though the intrinsic nature of the spirited vigour of Kuchipudi was missing in the oh-so-soft footwork.

Fellow of the SNA, Rajkumar Singhajit Singh in his “Nayika Mala”, innovatively combined pung players, khartal cholom rhythm and dance by the group. The coalescing and dispersing of the group were neatly managed. The nayikas under the kadamba tree yearn for Krishna, mistaking the cuckoo’s cry for his flute. The Gita Govinda lines “Viharati Haririha Sarasa Basante” move into Manipuri language as the Utkanthita, Khandita and Kalahantarita Nayika, and then again to Jayadeva’s “Priye Charusheele”, the final surrender in “Dehi Pada Pallavamudaram.” Rallying round Charu Sija as Radha was a group of proficient graceful dancers. The excellent singing added to the totality.

In having trained a group of youngsters who move with agility and grace, and inculcating in them a fine feel for group understanding, Tanushree Shankar has done commendable work. “The Child” by Rabindranath Tagore provided the textual base for the dance, and the singing conceived by Debajyoti Mishra, very Western sounding along with Victor Banerjee’s deeply felt poetry recitation, were all good but how the dance movements really expressed the feelings in the poetry, one failed to fathom!

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 5:18:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/many-paths/article4054486.ece

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