– more than a recollection
Rupali Kadam, Poulomi Fadnavis, Miskil Dharmadhikari, Poornima Dahale and Niranjani Deshpande, all senior students of Smitalay, began the evening with a lively mangalacharan.
Kumkum Lal, a senior dancer and a protégé of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, continued with a solo recital that included some very old compositions of Guruji. She began with Kalyan Pallavi. Although age has definitely taken its toll on her, her brilliance in abhinaya overshadowed everything else. She continued her recital with 'Nahi Ke Kari Dela,' an Oriya abhinaya tinged with history, since Laxmipriya, the famous actress of Annapurna Theatre, who later became Guruji's wife, performed it as a prelude to the plays that were being staged at the theatre in 1946. The magic began right from the moment she appeared on stage to verbally elucidate the song and supplemented it with fluid hand gestures. Her coup-de-grace was 'Kuru Yadu Nandana,' the last ashtapadi of Jayadeva's Gita-Govindam, where Radha and Krishna enjoy their naughty but blissful game of love.
The Srjan repertory
group presented four pieces in the Odissi vocabulary, with innovative themes.
A detailed description of each piece was well appreciated, since the usual
style of just announcing the name of the piece with the raga and tala leaves
many people befuddled. Their first presentation was Allah, choreographed
to hypnotic verses by Subramanya Bharati sung by Carnatic vocalist Aruna
Sayeeram. The use of percussion instruments added tremendously to this
mystically devotional feel that 'Allah' aroused.
Ratikant and Sujata Mohapatra, son and daughter-in-law of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, performed their highly-talked about duet 'Jatayu Moksha,' with Hindi verses set to music by Laxmikanta Palit. Jayadev Das brought his skills in lighting to the fore and thus added a lot of pizzazz to the choreography. Sujata Mohapatra's graceful yet restrained technique was an interesting aspect of 'Jatayu Moksha.'
The fourth and final presentation of Srjan's recital was 'Bhaja Govindam,' a composition that is largely ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya. Eight dancers of the Srjan repertory group, including Rajashri Praharaj, Geetanjali Acharya, Kaustavi Sarkar, Bijayalaxmi Satpathy, Swagatika Sahani, Swagatika Mohapatra, Manosmita Panda and Rachana Rimjhim, danced to the tunes of Laxmikanta Palit. In this remarkably long piece, what stood out the most was the high stamina level of the eight dancers, who lasted till the end without looking like hitherto sculpturesque statues that had melted in all the wrong places.
Dave learns Odissi and Hindustani classical music. She contributes
regularly to narthaki.com and is a budding journalist.