Arangham presents
Odissi by Nrityantar Dance Ensemble
Ritual theater Kaisika Natakam
At Azhagiya Nambi Temple, Tirukurungudi
December 10, 2016

November 23, 2016

Anita Ratnamís Arangham Trust presents ODISSI dance performance by Nrityantar Dance Ensemble from Bangalore (7pm) followed by ritual theater KAISIKA NATAKAM (9.30pm) in its 18th revival performance. 
At: Azhagiya Nambi Temple, Tirukurungudi on December 10, 2016

The temple at Thirukurungudi, in the Tirunelveli district in southern Tamilnadu is a sacred center rich in history and legend. A massive structure in the heart of a cluster of small villages, this Vishnu temple is home to an array of stunning sculptures and workmanship of the 12th century Nayak rulers.

Thirukurungudi is the only sacred site for the annual ritual called KAISIKA NATAKAM. This is an all-night drama and dance performance laced with the story of a demon who demands the life of a devotee preparing to offer prayers to the Lord on this special night which falls in the lunar month of Kaisiki (mid-November/early December). The ensuing debate and the actual ritual, saturated with eloquent poetry in old Tamil, snatches of humour and dance attracted thousands to this shrine in the belief that it was a special blessing to remain awake all night in the presence of Lord Vishnu and witness this tale.

Alongside the revival of classical and folk arts in India during this century some of the obscure ritual arts had slowly drifted to atrophy. Traditional communities of dancers and musicians had fallen into disfavour with the elite and with them invaluable repertoire and literature of ritual-performances like Kaisika Natakam.  Arangham has taken the responsibility of reviving this 10th century performance-art, unique to this temple. The responsibility extends far beyond the actual performance to social and cultural activism, to developing a new cluster of artistes who can study this ritual-art and perform it annually at Thirukurungudi at festival time. 

A driving force in its research was late Prof. Ramanujam.  Bharatanatyam Guru B Herambanathan oversees the dance choreography and training of artistes. The project receives continued support and encouragement from members of the international Bhakti List as well as patronage from the TVS business group since the Thirukurungudi village is the native home town of the company's founder, Sri T V Sundaram Iyengar.

Bengaluru-based Odissi dance institution, Nrityantar is a humble attempt by young promising Odissi dancer, Madhulita Mohapatra, to promote and preserve Indiaís rich pluralistic cultural legacy by promoting Odissi dance by performing, teaching and nurturing finest talents. Nrityantar Dance Ensemble is one of the most sought after classical dance troupes in Karnataka and has performed at several prestigious dance festivals. They will present:

The performances will begin with an invocation to Lord Vishnu based on the popular shloka, Shanta Karam Bhujaga Shayanam (I adore Vishnu, the embodiment of Peace, who sleeps on the serpent, whose naval is the lotus of the Universe, who is the destroyer of the fear of birth and death and who is the One Lord of all the Worlds). The original choreography is by Guru Pankaj Charan Das, music composition by Balakrushna Dash, set to raga Gurjari Todi & tala tripata.

Pallavi is a pure dance of lyrical beauty that places an equal emphasis on the twin aspects of melody and rhythm. Like a creeper, the Pallavi grows in pace and complexity, slowly yet surely. Hand gestures and body movements are not meant to tell a story here. Rather, they are used to create and enhance beauty. As the name suggests, this particular pallavi is based on the raga Janasammohini set to ektali. Dance choreography is by Madhulita Mohapatra. 

This Odia abhinaya talks about the eternal love of Radha & Krishna and how it has become the talk of the town. Dance choreography is by Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and Guru Aruna Mohanty. Music is composed by Bijaya Kumar Jena.

This traditional Sanskrit composition glorifies the beauty of Lord Krishna, based on the very popular song, Madhurastakam, written by Vallabhacharya, the great saint, philosopher and devotee poet of the 16th century. Music is composed by Late Guru Harihar Panda and dance choreography by Guru Pankaj Charan Das.

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