Chandran transforms into Shakti on stage
Shivakumar Perumal, Pune
The Stein Auditorium
at the India Habitat Centre is probably the finest address where art is
tastefully presented in India today. Time and again, it has been the venue
for the finest of dance and music recitals. As part of the recently convened
World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality, the auditorium was the venue
of a charged performance by dancer Geeta Chandran, in a classical Bharatanatyam
recital titled 'Shakti' on January 5, 2008.
the well-known Varnana Daru "Maade" in praise of the Goddess Chamundeshwari,
a lyrical work of the poet of the royal Court of Mysore, Harikesanallur
Muthiah Bhagvathar, in ragam Kamas, Adi Talam.
In her varnana
(detailed descriptions) of the Goddess, Geeta presented both her finite
and infinite forms. Geeta's performance of the Daru-s marked the journey
of the Goddess from her human form, concluding with her being portrayed
in cosmic terms as the Centre of the Universe – mandala madhyaga.
passage of this journey simultaneously showcased the artist growing steadily
into being an omnipotent figure and achieving an omnipotent image. Geeta's
dance brilliance capturing in classical movements the Goddess’ journey
was supreme. Geeta's dance overflows the stage and encompasses the rasikas.
She is able to create one-ness with each person in the audience. Her dance
becomes a dialogue between the art and the rasika. Geeta has created this
dialogue with elegant classicism and in our journey with her we rejoice
in admiration seeing the art flow from her nritya to heart-touching abhinaya.
This has been an established hallmark of her performance. As the daru varnam
concluded, the dancer and the Goddess Chamundeshwari had merged!
presentation was based on a chant in praise of the Devi – the popular "Aigiri
Nandini." Despite having heard the piece many, many times, seeing this
devotional chant recast into moving images in dance by Geeta Chandran was
a moving experience. The chant carries a potent power in itself, but Geeta
was able to add to that and bring it alive in her dance. The lyric was
transformed into a masterpiece of dancing images as Geeta blossomed into
Shakti on stage. The images of the dancer manipulating our emotions between
gentleness and ferocity will remain in memory for long.
was appropriately presented at the World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality
since she connected us with the spiritual aspects of life.
was another big occasion as Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan was conferred the Life
Time Achievement Award by the Princeton-based Infinity Foundation.
Chandran, it was a special evening for another reason: her daughter Sharanya,
who is also her disciple, conducted Geeta's recital. The Shakti performance
was Sharanya's nattuvangam arangetaram and she did a wonderful job.
Sharanya deserves as much praise as all the other team members of the "Shakti"
team: vocals - Sudha Raghuraman, mridangam - Lalgudi Sriganesh, flute -
has a passion for the arts and is a freelance writer.