Friday Review

Rainbow of artistry

'Saugandya Parvam’, the inaugural show, staged by Dilsagar and his troupe from Bangalore, in connection with the Monsoon Dance and Music Fest 2014 in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb

'Saugandya Parvam’, the inaugural show, staged by Dilsagar and his troupe from Bangalore, in connection with the Monsoon Dance and Music Fest 2014 in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb   | Photo Credit: K. K. Najeeb

A six-day cultural fete in Thrissur mainly showcased eclectic dance forms of India.

A six-day Monsoon Dance and Music Fest 2014 held in Thrissur was an exposition of the cultural diversity of the country. Most of the presentations embraced themes highlighting intrinsic features of the season.

Inaugural show

‘Saugandya Parvam’, the inaugural show, was an amalgam of Kalaripayattu, classical and contemporary dance forms. Staged by Dilsagar and his troupe from Bangalore, all consummate Kalaripayattu artistes, the audience was enthralled by their aesthetic but hair-raising acrobatic movements. It was anchored on the story of ‘Kalyana Sougandhikam’, which featured Panchali, Bhima and Arjuna.

Vocal concert

The only music concert in the festival was a Hindustani recital by Sumitra Guha (Delhi). She opened with Miyan Ki Malhar, a monsoon raga created by the legendary musician Tansen. After a short alaap, the rendition started in vilambit Ek Taal. Movements over the swaras from Sa to Ma were typical of the serious and slow nature of the raga. Alluring modulations apart, flashes of descent and ascent of swaras simulated sounds of the rain, thunder and lightning. The second part was energising with Teen Taal.

Rag Desh, the right choice for the night, presented two themes. The first one in Teen Taal was a dialogue between a musician and cuckoo: ‘The rainy season has come; let’s sing together for the welfare of the humanity’, went the theme.

While the first part of the concert was meditative, the second appeared devotional as she switched to a Shiva bhajan ‘Sadasiva sambho’, composed by Saint Brahmananda. She wound up with a Meera bhajan in Yaman Kalyan. A marked omission was the rhythmic flourishes of the tabla, which the pattern of concert did not permit. Vijay Sursen on the harmonium and Jayakumar on the tabla accompanied the vocalist.

Odissi performance

An Odissi recital staged by Sharmila Mukherjee and her disciples started with a Megha Pallavi based on rag Megha and Jhampa Taal. The dancers showcased the intrinsic features of this pure dance form including statuesque tribhangas and enchanting movements of the eyes, neck and torso as the tempo ascended gradually. Sharmila demonstrated her histrionic talents in the abhinaya piece, ‘Ahe Nila Saila’, penned by a Muslim poet Salbeg.

Another Pallavi in Saveri presented by a group of four in Ektal apart, Sharmila presented the sixth Ashtapadi, ‘Sakhi, kesee madhana udaaram’. A graphic description of river Ganga followed. A recent choreography composed in raga Bhatiar Bhairav and talas triputa and Ek, ‘Ganga’ was a visual treat.

Perhaps the piece de resistance of the show was Dasavathara in raga Kalyan, Jhampa tala.

Kathak recital

Kathak recital by disciples of Pandit Jai Kishan Maharaj in groups was an exhibition of the technical niceties of the dance form. While ‘Kramasha’ entailed sequential wavy movements, ‘Taraana’ was set to the melodious bols of raga Basant. ‘Swarangatala’ was a harmonious blending of Swar, Ang (nritya) and Taal that defined Sangeetham. ‘Bansuri’, a ballet, proved the choreographic inventiveness of Jai Kishan. The ballet shows Radha becoming jealous of the Bansuri that is always close to Krishna’s lips.

The disappointment of the audience was evident as the maestro chose not to perform, contrary to the announcement of the organisers. Absence of live music for both Odissi and Kathak turned the performances into tailor-made ones devoid of any impromptu innovations. True, group choreographies are visually appealing, but they leave much to be desired as regards the nuances of the classical dances.

Mohiniyattam

In contrast, Kalamandalam Kshemavathy, the oldest among performing dancers of Kerala, presented two solo performances of Mohiniyattam supported by an excellent team of musicians. ‘Devi Pavane’, the third Navaratri kriti in Saveri, Adi, began with alluring vaytharis.

All attributes of Devi described by Swati found skilful delineation by the dancer. Kshema’s abhinaya appeared more pronounced in the presentation of Sugathamurari’s ‘Paada prathishta’, which depicted different stages of Sita’s life. ‘Varsha Ritu’, a group choreography staged by seven disciples, narrated the blessings of rain.

The message conveyed by the composition was relevant to the contemporary environmental dispensation: Varsha devatha promises to come back only if the people faithfully protected Nature nourished by her. The technique of using a ‘thiraseela’ for the entry and exit of the rain goddess enhanced the charm of the choreography.

Folk dance

Male and female artistes of Rangashree School of Fine Arts, Ahmedabad, came up with a scintillating finale for the festival with a variety of folk dances of Gujarat. The verve with which they presented Garba, Tippani, Hudo and Raas provided vignettes of the rich folk heritage the State.

The festival was organised by Navaneetham Cultural Trust and Somaiya Trust (Mumbai)

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 1:23:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/it-is-raining-dance-this-monsoon/article6241201.ece

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