Dance

For the love of khadi

A scene from the ballet  

Bharatanatyam from a pure classical dance of Bhakti and Shringar ras has evolved with changing times. Dancers like Rajeswari Sainath and Savitha Sastry are keeping the grammar of Bharatanatyam intact while presenting modern dance ballets. Vyshnavie Sainath, daughter of Rajeswari Sainath, also joined the august ranks in presentation of Khadi- a dance ballet on the occasion of the orientation programme of freshers’ at NIFT, Madhapur, Friday last.

The evening’s programme began with an invocation of Lord Natraja by Rajeswari Sainath, Vyshnavie and group. The mother and daughter duo complemented one another along with other dancers giving the piece a magical and foot tapping touch. After the invocation, guruRajeswari handed over the stage to Vyshnavie and troupe. Discarding the traditional Bharatanatyam attire, dressed in black salwar and T-shirts with colourful band to their waists and hair tied in a bun, Vyshnavie (only one to tie her hair in a band) and her troupe mesmerised the audience with their dance. The show began with the description of khadi, Khadi its history and its evolution.

All of us who have studied history as a subject in school are aware that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi started a movement to promote khadi Khadi as an ideology, an idea that Indians could be self-reliant on cotton. He said: “Every village shall plant and harvest its own raw-materials for yarn, every woman and man shall engage in spinning and every village shall weave whatever is needed for its own use.” The ballet opens with villagers (dancers) happy in spinning the charkha and going about their work in the manufacturing of the indigenous good. It shows the bonding of the villagers while practicing this trade.

In 1920, the British started inflicting brutality on those spinning the charkha in a move to shut the indigenous cotton industry. It was then that Gandhi ji gave a call for Swadeshi movement and people boycotted foreign goods and burnt them. Vyshnavie and her troupe presented this part exceedingly well. The anguish of the Indian and the brutality of the British were well presented. The music score, a revolutionary song, taken from a recent film captured the theme to perfection. Khadi symbolises democracy in true sense. Khadi is available in cotton, silk and wool and is a fabric that blends with other fabrics.

Sashaying in hues of green, brown and red, Vyshnavie and her troupe expressed the vibrant colours of Khadi. While dancing with duppattas, the circling and entwining done by the dancers received thunderous applause. Vyshnavie’s expertise in Kalaripayattu helped in this ballet. She lifted a dancer and twirled without losing balance. Even the other dancer showed no sign of fear and could just melt into the dance sequence. There is no doubt that these young dancers apart from learning the classical dance form are also learning yoga to have control on their breath and enhance their stamina.

The pyramids formed by the dancers to show the rise and prosperity of Khadi after independence received tremendous ovation from the audience. It left the audience asking for more. The 25-year-old Vyshnavie displayed her dancing skills and lifts with perfection. One hopes to see more innovation from this young dancer. Except for a couple of dancers, who are in school, others are pursuing professional courses.

The dance ballet staged at NIFT, an apt place, proved a point to say that Khadi was a fashion statement too and not just the dress of a politician.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 11:50:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/vyshnavie-sainaths-choreography-of-khadi-dance-ballet/article7481071.ece

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