Journey of the mind

StatuesqueYamini MuthannaPhoto: K. Murali Kumar

StatuesqueYamini MuthannaPhoto: K. Murali Kumar  

The second day of the NRI Dance Festival recently organised by the World Dance Alliance-Karnataka Chapter at the Seva Sadan auditorium in Bangalore showcased performances by Bangalore-based noted Bharatanatyam exponent, Yamini Muthanna and Sigma Satabdhi Pradhan, an Odissi dancer based at USA.Muthanna’s performance blended dance with Yoga in the most organic way possible and her transition from exploring the theme through abhinaya to the striking yoga poses were not only effortless, but also kept the audience engaged throughout. Yamini Muthanna trained in the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam under Guru Dr Vasundara Doraswamy of Mysore, has also had intensive training in Yoga under Yoga Visharadha B.N.S. Iyengar, at Parakala Mutt in Mysore. 

Her statuesque poses and powerful expressions were ably supported by her musical accompanists (Karthik Hebbar on vocals, Prasanna Kumar on Nattuvangam, Srihari on Mridangam, Jayaram on flute and narration by Janani).

The theme of her performance was Manas (mind), which was set to selected hymns and verses from the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Vedas.Attempting to explore the mind and take us through its creative journey, the performance was broken into five chapters.* Manas as the divine guru Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Maheshwara (Destroyer) who is formless, pure and untainted.* Manas as the Universe, source of all existence, the Pancha Bhoota (five elements): Bhoomi (Earth), Agni (Fire), Vayu (Wind), Jala (Water) and Akasha (Sky).* Manas as the dazzling effulgence of a thousand Suns blazing instantaneously, whose brilliant light illuminates the universe.* Manas as the beautiful mother, protector, nurturer, teacher who guides through all adventures and teaches us to fight through fears and evils in life.  * Manas as the indestructible Aswatha tree, the enlightened one, the Supreme Guru to whom one must surrender and whose miracles are astounding.On the whole, Muthanna’s performance encompassed a diverse range of philosophies and ancient narratives with a distinct theme, which stimulated the intellect of the audience with its fascinating insights.

The other performance of the evening, by Sigma Satabdhi Pradhan, was divided into three parts. Jaya Mahesha : It starts with an invocatory item in praise of the omnipotent Lord Shiva ; Bajuchhi Sahi Bajare : This Odia abhinaya talks about the eternal love of Radha and Krishna; Janasammahini Pallavi : This particular Pallavi (the most graceful part of Odissi repertoire) is based on raga Janasammohini and set to Ektali .Sigma’s bhangis (dance postures) and mudras (hand formations) were graceful and well-defined.

Sigma has been studying and performing Odissi for the last four years under the tutelage of Madhulita Mohapatra.   

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