Sparkling performances of skill and innovation

Superb dancers from across the country turned Soorya’s ‘Parampara Dance Festival’ into a platform to showcase the aesthetics and scope of Bharatanatyam.

November 20, 2014 06:57 pm | Updated 06:57 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Bharatanatyam by Arupa Lahiry at 'Parampara Dance Festival 2014', organised by Soorya  in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo:  Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

Bharatanatyam by Arupa Lahiry at 'Parampara Dance Festival 2014', organised by Soorya in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri

This year’s ‘Parampara Dance Festival’ of Soorya brought together leading Bharatanatyam dancers in India as well as some of the notable young talents of the dance from across the country.

Rama Vaidyanathan

On the inaugural day of the festival, the Bharatanatyam dancer enthralled rasikas with her recital, the highlights of which were innovative choreography, imaginative narratives and flawless execution. Whether it be a portrayal of a concerned doothika in the varnam ‘Danikori Kenu...’ (Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, Vasanta, Jhampa) or the sarcastic devotee in the padam ‘Mukhattai Kattiye...’ (Papavinasa Mudaliar, Bhairavi, Misra Chapu), Rama made them captivating through her sensitive abhinaya. She excelled as mother Yashoda in ‘Momu Jupara?’ (Annamacharya, Behag, Roopaka), as she enacted Yashoda reacting to Krishna’s antics.

Dakshina Vaidyanathan

Like mother, like daughter. When it comes to dance, this phrase suits Dakshina Vaidyanathan, daughter and disciple of Rama Vaidyanathan. Commencing with a Pushpanjali (Rasikapriya, Trisra Triputa) and ‘Sambhu Natanam’ (Lathanthapriya, Khanda Chapu), Dakshina also presented a concerned sakhi in the varnam ‘Satura Kamini...’ (Swati Tirunal, Kalyani, Adi). A combination of lively footwork and sensible abhinaya made the piece a pleasure to watch.

Arupa Lahiry

She started off her recital in a shaky fashion. The initial anjali combined with alarippu and the varnam that followed fell short of expectations. However, she did well in the Purandara kriti ‘Neenyako Ranga...’ (Ragamalika, Adi) in which she narrated the stories of Prahlada and that of Krishna saving Draupadi’s honour. Mohanakalyani thillana in Adi, a composition of Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, was the final piece.

Uma Namboodiripad

Uma Namboodiripad’s eye for detail in the abhinaya sequences was evident in the Kamboji varnam ‘Nathanai Azhaithu...’. She excelled in the pieces that followed; first as a gossiping heroine in the javali ‘Athuvum Solluval...’ (Subbaramayyar, Saurashtram, Adi) and later as mother Yashoda in the oft-seen Purandara devaranama ‘Jagadodharana...’ (Kapi, Adi). However, the finer aspects of footwork require polishing.

Shweta Prachande

Opening her recital with a virutham and alarippu, Shweta Prachande instantly grabbed attention with her lively stage presence. Swati Tirunal’s evergreen varnam ‘Sumasayaka...’ (Karnataka Kapi, Roopaka) followed and Shweta impressed as the heroine earnestly appealing to lord Sarasijanabha to come and relieve her from her lovelorn state. Shweta continued with a padam and then a javali. She seemed to be in a hurry and that affected some of the pieces presented.

Navia Natarajan

Her performance gained attention on account of the variety of heroines that she presented through different pieces starting with the opening ‘Parasakthi’ in praise of goddess Sakthi. In the Anandabhairavi varnam ‘Sakhiye Inda Velayil...’ (Ponnaiah Pillai), she excelled as the heroine so deeply in love with Lord Rajagopala. The piece based on the 69th poem of ‘Amaru Shataka’ stood out as Navia presented moods of love, longing and separation. ‘Enganum Varavara...’ (Kavi Kunjara Bharathi, Kalyani, Misra Chapu) saw the heroine chiding Lord Subrahmania for being involved with another woman.

Kirti Ramgopal

Beginning with ‘Natesa Kauthuvam’ (Hamsadhvani, Adi), Kirti moved on to the Hindolam varnam composed by Janaki Jayaprakash, using verses from ‘Sri Krishna Karnamrutam’. While Kirti’s subtle expressions translated the theme effectively, her intrinsic footwork enhanced the recital. She was seen at her creative best when she narrated the taming of Kaliya in one of the jathi sequences.

Sreelatha Vinod

Expressions and pure dance were at their best in Sreelatha Vinod’s distinctive style. Sreelatha started with ‘Shadakshara Kauthuvam’ (Shanmukhapriya, Roopaka). Well-maintained sthayi and the sancharis that flourished naturally made the presentation of ‘Mohamana En Midil...’ (Ponnaih Pillai, Bhairavi varnam) an immerse experience. The portrayal of a devotee caught between the love for her lord and her husband in ‘Magadochi...’ was touching while the young girl complaining about Krishna's advances in ‘Thottu Thottu Pesa Varan…’ was presented with a touch of humour.

Aswathy and Srikanth

It was nice to watch Aswathy and Srikanth performing in sync those swift jathis during the dance sequences in the opening Ganesha sthuthi (Hamsadhwani, Tisra Adi) and the Ranjini varnam, (by M. Balamuralikrishna). The bhajan ‘Visweswara Darshan...’ (Sindu Bhairavi, Roopaka) and the Tamil padam ‘Netru Varen Endru...’ (Pantuvarali, Misra Chapu) were presented as solos. Amrithavarshini thillana was the final piece.

Bragha Bessel

Bragha Bessel was seen at ease presenting the four abhinaya pieces back to back after the Sankarabharanam varnam ‘Manavi Chekona...’. While essaying a woman rebuking her erring lover in ‘Arivenayya...’ (Adana / Roopaka) and as a young girl who gets worried about the gossip spreading across the town connecting her to a man in the javali ‘Appaduru...’ (Khamas, Chaturasra Eka), Bragha had her sancharis well in place, effectively highlighting the contrast between these two heroines.

The illustration of five arrows of cupid in Swathi Tirunal’s ‘Alarsaraparithapam....’ (Surutti, Misra Chapu) was a creative exploration that did not deviate from the theme.

Kalakshetra’s ‘Jatayumoksham’

It proved to be a fitting finale for the dance fiesta as the dancers, musicians and technicians from Kalakshetra made their presentation of ‘Jatayumoksham’, a dance drama, an enjoyable and memorable experience. Originally choreographed by Rukmini Devi Arundale, based on a tale from the Ramayana, it was a fine mix of lokadharmi and natyadharmi that made it appealing. The dancers were seen in total control and they utilised the available stage space in sync with the light arrangements, thus producing the desired effect. While all of them did well for the most part in their respective roles, Girish Madhu (Rama), Sharada (Sita), Indu Mohan (Golden Deer) and Hari Padman (Sanyasi Ravana) were a few who were able to make a distinctive impression.

In addition to the dancers, the festival also saw some fine musicians and percussionists at their best, giving ample support to the dancers on stage.

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