A multi-genre dance festival was hosted by Gayatri Subramanian, under the aegis of Guru G.V. Ramani Natya Kala Foundation. It was a full house at the Marathi Sahitya Mandir, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, in spite of heavy rains.
Vrinda Chadha and Vinod Kevin Bachan opened the event with ‘Swagatam shubh swagatam’ a traditional Mangalacharan, followed by a piece on Shiva from the Ravan Stotram, in raag Darbari, Ek tali and Triputa.
Vrinda Chadha and Vinod Kevin Bachan
Pallavi, a pure dance piece, in raag Saveri, Ek tali came next. They concluded with Ardhanareeshwaram of Adi Sankaracharya and slokam of Mahakavi Kalidas in Ragamalika Taalamaalika, choreographed by their guru Ranjana Gauhar, bringing out the dual concept of masculinity and femininity embodied by Shiva and Parvati.
Saathi presented ‘Mohamana,’ the vintage varnam (Bhairavi, Adi, Thanjavur quartet) in praise of Lord Shiva enshrined in the beautiful town of Tiruvarur.
With fleeting footwork and fitting emotive expositions, the dancer did full justice to the choreography of Rama Vaidyanathan. Training under seasoned gurus such as Vaibhav Arekar, Lata Raman and Rama Vaidyanathan have added to Prachi’s dimensions.
Himanshu Srivastava from Delhi opened with Kalabhairavashtakam, an invocation to the Lord who wanders in the cremation grounds, one who bestows fortunes and dances the vichitra tandava.
The gory form of Shiva, ash smeared on his body, the adhbuta state were all graphically shown. The music and choreography by Himanshu were creditable. The prelude Anjali in Ragam Misra Bahar, tisra nadai Adi talam, set to music by Dr. Vasudevan was well-delineated.
Madhurashtakam choreographed by Rama Vaidyanathan, explored the presence of Krishna and his innate sweetness ingrained in every fragment of Vrindavana. Krishna’s feet never left Brindavan. Madhurashtakam with the refrain in ‘Vrindavana Parityajya Padam’ was a pleasant experience.
Tillana (Paras, Adi, Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar), choreographed by guru Saroja Vaidyanathan was true to tradition and executed with precision. The creamy pastel costume with checkered border and relief was a visually comforting aharya.
Gayatri felicitated the artiste and added that there is something to learn from everybody.
An inspiring change
Veteran Mohiniyattom artiste Gopika Varma elicited appreciation from the audience through her dance movements and verbal communication. After detailing the life story of Adi Sankara, she presented ‘Namami Sankara’ in Varnam format, an inspiring change from the routine Nayika-based themes.
The dilemma of the childless couple when they are asked by the lord to choose between a ‘Mandabuddhi Deergayush’ and ‘Pandit with alpaay,ush’ the sequences from Aryamba’s motherly joy in holding the child; the empathy of Sankara towards the poor lady and glint in her eyes seeing the shower of gold Kanakadhara; the darting eyes of Devi as she walks in graceful gait accompanied by ghungroo sounds halting in Kollur making it her divine destination; to Chandala with the dogs, Parakaya Pravesam; and attaining of Sarvagya peetham, was graphic.
The deep-throated voice of Arun Gopinath with the required nuanced curvatures added to the dance of the enchantress.
Story of Brighu muni and ardhanareeswar tatvam were executed with finesse and grace in Adi Sankara’s stotram.
The concluding Bhaja Govindam was preceded by detailed anchoring translated into dance movements. The audience joined in the final refrain of Bhaja Govindam with chants and clapping, akin to Namasankeertanam.
Gayatri Subramanian acknowledged the support of her students and their family. “The august presence of senior gurus, dance practitioners, learners is a reassurance that there is no worry about the future of dance,” she said.