Dance Day celebrated by Samooha
International Dance Day has been celebrated by the International Dance Council (CID) every year on April 29th for all kinds of dance. This date commemorates the birthday of French dancer and ballet master Jean Georges Noverre. In this regard Samooha, a cultural ensemble lead by Prof Udyavara Madhava Acharya, organized an evening of dance. Dr Jayaprakasha Mavinakuli, (Principal M G M College) inaugurated the event. Yakshagana critic, researcher and performer Dr M Prabhakara Joshi discussed a topic "Nrithya-Pradarshana-Prayoga-Sahridayatana."
Students of Ramakrishna Kodancha and Pavana Rajendra presented a few classical Bharatanatyam dance numbers. The center of attraction was the theatrical dance presentation of Prof Acharya’s Kannada short story "Seelu Bidirina Sillu." The theme was Shri Krishna's last phase of Avatara. In essence, the story contains a revelation by Krishna himself of humane success and failure of an Avatara purusha's spiritual mission on this earth to his ardent devotee Uddhava on the seashore at Prabhasa. The lines from the story were powerfully rendered by Prof Acharya with the support of appropriate rhythmic musical bits in the prerecorded format. On the stage Vinutha Acharya presented the theme through classical dance choreographed by Bhramari Shivaprakash. Few months ago Prof Acharya had enacted the same script using his free style dance. The ample possibilities to present a theme through the classical media, was comparatively studied. The critics and art lovers of Udupi appreciated this new innovative idea of adopting a short story on to stage.
A few words about Samooha, Udupi in Karnataka. Samooha is an ensemble of theatre artists in Udupi, a culturally active small town in coastal Karnataka of Southern India. The ensemble's expertise is in staging unique old Kannada literary works as theatrical presentations using the classical and folk art media such as Yakshagana, Bharatanatyam, classical music, light classical etc. Its creative director is Prof Udyavara Madhava Acharya.
Since 1980, Prof Acharya has choreographed different stage works (more than 50) using his innovative theatrical technique called 'Samooha,' wherein a group of dancers do not portray a specific character through the course of the production. Instead, they embody the expression of various feelings and inner thoughts of the characters in the script by visual manifestation.
To mention a few of Samooha's theatrical presentations include the works of great Kannada litterateurs such as PuTiNa (Ahalye, Sathyayana Harishchandra, Sri Haricharithe, Kuchela Krishna), Kadengodlu Shankara Bhat (Seethapaharana, Madriya Chite, Hidimbe), Sediyapu Krishna Bhat (Shabari, Shvamedha), Dr. K Shivarama Karantha (Ruthu Githe, Muktha Dvara, Bhavabhuti (Uttara RamaCharitham translated to Kannada by Bannanje Govinda Acharya), Muliya Thimmappayya (Navanitha Ramayana), Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai (Hebberalu), B M Shri (Ashvathaman), Dharmaveera Bharati (Andhayuga translated by Siddhalinga Pattana Shetty), Ravindranatha Tagore (Chitrangade translated into Kannada by N S Laxminarayana Bhat) and many dance dramas based on Daasa Saahitya, Saint Madhvacharya's Dvadasha Stotra, Saint Vadiraja's Rukminisha Vijaya, Saint Shankaracharya's Saundarya Lahari, Upanishads, Bhagavadgeethe, Purusha Suktha, a light on Saint Valmiki's life etc. Prof Acharya himself penned a few theatrical scripts namely Panchali, Bhishma Sathyavrithanadaddu, Ganga Lahari, Stabdha, Purna Purusha, Shivabhakta Nilakantha, Yaksha Bala Leele, Nritya Gokula etc.
Prof Acharya has been felicitated with the Karnataka Rajyothsava Award in the year 2000 for his contribution to the dance and theater world. He has been conferred with the title of Ranga Visharada. Every year since his 60th birthday, Acharya hosts a cultural evening "Samooha Rangothsva" to showcase his theatrical ideas and experiments.