Striking themes

The Chhau artistes who participated in Dhwani 2012 threw light on the aesthetics of Seraikella, Mayurbhanj and Purulia Chhau through outstanding thematic presentations.

Published - July 05, 2012 08:13 pm IST - Kochi

Scene from Ratri

Scene from Ratri

‘Dhwani 2012’, a cultural event in Kochi, showcased three varieties of Chhau dance, namely Seraikella, Mayurbhanj and Purulia Chhau. The performance was by 27 artistes.

The presentation featured a highly varied repertoire with simple yet striking themes. Shashadhar Acharya, a traditional Seraikella performer, presented a personification of the night in an item ‘Ratri’. Loud drum beats to a monotonous rhythm, accompanied by poignant strains of the sarangi and creative lighting, added to the mystique of the piece. The dancer depicting ‘Night’ was dressed in a black attire with silver sequins, black mask et al. Night caressed a crescent moon, portrayed by another performer, as they danced together.

‘Natesa’, a striking dance by Trilok Mahato, highlighted the shanta, roudra and tandav aspects of Shiva. This was done in the Mayurbhanj style using masks. Never once did the dancer falter as he struck tough poses with restraint and control. This drew huge applause from the audience. ‘Radha Krishna’ was comparatively fast-paced with rigorous footwork, and the dancers incorporated some folk movements that added flavour to the dance.The slightly off-beat theme ‘Dhandi’ was performed by Nirosh Kumar who sketched the character of a student who leaves for his gurukula for higher learning. As the journey progresses, the movements became more vigorous and the bols gave definition to the striking choreography.

The highly physical form of the dance was essayed in ‘Geetha’, as Vibhutibhushan Mahato and Raj Kapoor Mahato enacted the roles of Krishna and Arjuna; they depicted the war scenes in Kurukshetra. The broad strides and gaits with the tricky slow rhythm patterns were challenging and this was executed admirably. The piece-de-resistance was ‘Durga’ presented by seven dancers in Puruliya style. The character of Ganesha made a dramatic entry and he left the audience spellbound with his swift swirls. The character of Karthik, portrayed by Balram Mahato, thrilled with his reverse somersaults. The masks and costumes were colourful and captured the fierce mood of the characters. Through subtle movements, Dilip Mahato essayed the feminine as well as the furious form of the goddess who finally kills Mahisha.

The programmes were organised as part of the silver jubilee celebrations of Dharani Society. The event also featured a Bharatanatyam recital by Shalini Shivasankar and Pallavi Anand, a symposium on music education by Karaikudi Subramaniam, and miscellaneous art programmes by students of Dharani.

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