OTHERS

Beauty, creativity, aesthetics....

Under the leafy dome of peepul trees, 35 voices soar into the cloudy sky. Effortlessly these voices ``paint for you'' the adventures of the monkey-god, in eight verses of Tulsidas's ``Sankat Mochan Hanuman''. They then shift tune and sing to you the verses of ``Devi Stuti'': ``Ayi giri nandini nanditamedini...'' and conclude with ``Zindagi mein jo kuchh bhi mahaan hai, vah kalpana ya bhaas nahin hai...''

This magic was created not by famous or seasoned maestros but by young performers aged between five and 13, strung together by playwright-director-composer Gopal Sharman. For the past six weeks, these young ones have been learning the finer points of music, theatre and dance under his guidance and supervision.

Based on the concept of beauty, creativity and aesthetics, Akshara Theater's summer workshop in classical arts for children was also guided by celebrated actress Jalabala Vaidya. Apart from music, it also gave them training in theatre.

This year, it was the fun-filled enactment of ``Alice and Humpty Dumpty'', a play inspired by Lewis Carrol's ``Alice Through the Looking Glass'' which brought the children's latent creative talent out in the open.

The workshop concluded on Thursday but not before the group learnt of the important concepts of various forms of creative movements with Gilles Chuyen and Rashid Ansari and Kathak with Saswati Sen and Shikha Khare. However, the star attraction of the year were the Kathakali and Bharatanatyam classes.

The fun did not stop at that. Artist Meera Dutt taught children Chinese water colour technique in painting -- to help with the spectacular Kathakali-inspired make-up. The children later created their own ``masterpieces'' under her guidance. To complete their mental and physical development, the programme was rounded off with yoga classes by Prabhakar Kaushik.