An absolute blissful evening

The euphoria of Dasara in Mysuru hung around even after two days of the festivities. Cultural programmes continued to entice dance rasikas to auditoriums. Articulate Festival added to the seasons grand ceremony of events, luckily the 3rd Sunday of the month coincided with the days just after the Navaratri. The line-up of artistes in this 29th edition, co-ordinated by Mysore B. Nagaraj, included a highly acclaimed senior Dance exponent who was gracious to share platform with the upcoming artistes on Oct.21, at Ganabharathi’s Veene Seshanna Bhavana in Kuvempunagar, Mysuru.

While Mysore Nagaraj always conducted the event treating the audience as his chief guests,  sans any guests of honour, surprised with chairs lined up on the stage only to be occupied by the evening’s performers for a ‘Chit Chat.’ This private proceedings in their dance life spilled through a friendly on stage conversation by Nagaraj with the artistes before the actual performance began.

Ashitha Rajesh, disciple of Karnataka Kalashree Guru Dr. Suparna Venkatesh, performed two compositions dominated with sahithya and one based on Nrutta. Among the two, one was Raga Lavangi-Adi Tala based composition of Nataraja “Karunadi Kayo Nataraja,” the other was Raga Aandolika-Adi Tala based on Saraswathi “Aananda Roopini.”

Despite the recorded music did not give her ample scope or support to accentuate the rhythm and its varied patterns, one could have a glimpse of her capabilities in that sector of dance. Her art of emoting the undercurrent of the lyrics was at forefront, which she justified all the way. Even the Music of Tillana, Jog raga-Adi tala on Trishakthi, camouflaged her innate talent over the Bharatanatyam dance medium. Moral of the story is, even recorded dance music must best be tailored to ones need and not be depended on semi commercialised dance music publications.

Guru Durga Arya-Kruger from Germany, one of the senior most disciple of Pt. Birju Maharaj, right from the word go at the Chit Chat to her concluding  bow in the acts end, stole the heart of the audience. The ease with which she swirled & glided across the stage, sometimes unleashing her stock of energy and suddenly freezing  into a  statuesque poise, only to take off on another journey of high intensity display of her Kathak histrionics froze the audience with perplexity. Her subtle movements and glances thrown, mirrored with equally dignified moves and postures,  punctuated every line of Sri Birju Maharaj’s Ardhanaareeshwar composition. Vibha Ramaswamy, Nishant Panicker and Laxminarayan Jena tagged along in the Nrutta item in Damar Taal. Under Durga Ji’s training the three proved good enough to perform along with her. The concluding item proved that dance need not be constrained to few languages. Durga Ji though cannot speak or understand Kannada, she effectively translated both the words and the sentiments as penned by Haridasa Sri Purandaradasa into understandable movement and expressions. To those who were used to see “Krishna Nee Begane Baro” in Bharatanatyam, this was a new canvas in newer colours.

Banashree Mohapatra’s Odissi was simply sublime. She encapsulated the essence of Odissi and her adeptness to that form of art exuded in every poise and every posture. Her perfect choice of just two dance numbers sufficed to bring out the best training she has had under Guru Madhulitha Mohapatra. Banashree by her opening Nrutta, “Pallavi” in rageshree raag and ektaali taal made many men tap their toes and women emulate the bhangis in their seats, a proof that she enraptured her audience. The second was a Abhinaya piece in Odiya language where the sakhi is trying to make Radha, who is deep in love with Krishna, realise how her scandalous behaviour has been the buzz of the town. The abhinaya was deftly executed with no overtones but thoroughly conveying both the sensual and the spiritual essence of the composition “Bajuchhi sahi baajare.”

Vaangmayi Prasad’s (disciple of Guru Dr. Soundarya Srivathsa) choice of the opening number of her Bharatanatyam was just perfect. She chose Bilahari Raga-Aadi tala composition of Sri Mysore Vasudevacharya “Sri Chamundeshwari Palayamam,” an obeisance to the presiding deity of Mysuru, which continued the festival mood of Navaratri. Her second segment of performance was a Jaavali “Idhene Sakhi” in raaga Behag and Aadi tala. She concluded her recital with a composition on the cosmic dancer dance in one of his blissful mood in the presence of his consort to the accompaniment of Saraswathi playing the veena, Laxmi herself singing, Vishnu on flute, Bramha on tala while Ganesha played mridanga.

The Padmacharan’s lyrics set to Poorvi Kalyani raga and aadi tala was this “Pradosha Samayadi Parashiva Tandava.” Her performance was unhurried, neat and enjoyable. When Mysore Nagaraj  asked Durga to share something about her journey in the realms of Kathak, her spontaneous act of getting up and demonstrating the traits of the form, gave away the fact that she still has the same enthusiasm that she had when she was six and will continue beyond sixty.

It was a well-attended and absolute blissful evening of Indian classical dance from the regions of Gangetic plains, Deccan Plateau and the Kalinga Coast.

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