Dance

The colours of Krishna leela

Leela Taranga Margam Photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

As the curtain rose, the soft blue backlight cast its glow on nine young girls striking dance postures, which brought back memories of the dancing dolls of Thanjavur. Thereafter, it was a continuous flurry of movements and some special moments for the next two hours, as Sridevi Nrithyalaya’s first thematic presentation, ‘Leela Taranga Margam,’ unfolded at the annual NRI festival of Hamsadhwani.

Sheela chose slokams in Sanskrit from Narayana Theertha’s ‘Krishna Leela Tharangini’ and choreographed them into a regular Bharatanatyam margam format. The musical score composed and sung by Kuldeep M Pai, accompanied by Embar Kannan (violin), Guru Bharadwaj (mridangam), Vishnu Vijay (flute) and Trichur Murali (veena), appropriately used ragas such as Nattai, Shanmugapriya, Nagaswaravali, Thodi and Behag.

Beginning with ‘Eshwara prarthanai,’ Sheela had chosen dancers of different age groups and categorised them according to their height for each segment. The choreography had been done in such a manner that the young girls moved in and out of various formations with ease and also grouped themselves to form a tableau. The depiction of dasavatharam in a minimalistic manner, the delineation of swirling waters, snake Kaliya, Krishna’s lifting of mountain, , raas leela and the perfect turning of each dancer standing in a line to every swara sung, in the Kovuthuvam, was visually appealing.

Each and every song was performed by a group of girls. ‘Radha Madhava samvada tharangam’ was the only song where Bhairavi Venkatesan and Harini Jeevita donned the role of Radha and Krishna to portray sringara, which was predominantly made up of romantic postures and not intense abhinaya, that is understandable given the age of the dancers.

A commendable aspect of this production was the precision and co-ordination of movements. Be it in the synchrony of footwork or hand movements the production showcased the effort taken by Sheela Unnikrishnan and the students, so essential for aesthetic presentations. But she also needs to understand that the art moves beyond the physical realm.

It is the philosophical ideas and emotions that evoke rasa in the audience, without which the presentation is soulless.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 11:11:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/sheela-unnikrishnans-leela-taranga-margam-unfolded-at-the-annual-nri-festival-of-hamsadhwani/article8050116.ece

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