4th Drishti Dance Festival  
- Veena Murthy Vijay, Bangalore 
e-mail: veenamurthyvijay@gmail.com 

January 24, 2009 
 
The Drishti Dance Festival has evolved to be a major festival in the cultural calendar of India.  

Three years since its inception, the fourth Drishti Dance Festival, held on 17th January 2009, brought in a lot of mixed reactions about the content of the festival, however with a positive change. Earlier, dance festivals meant serious presentation of Margam in its repertoire with all its finest technical aspects of Nrithya, Nritta and Rasa as the main objective.  Gradually, the festivals have become a platform for dancers to start a dialogue on various aspects of repertoire, presentation and also partnership in terms of media, marketing and social responsibility.  
Anuradha Vikranth, well known Bharatanatyam dancer of Bangalore and her husband T M Vikranth, head the Drishti Art Centre. Blessed with loads of enthusiasm and undying optimism, this duo work effectively and with corporate strategy to make this festival an impressive event and artists delight to perform.  

Every artiste and art lover in town turned up for this event. The program was well designed with an equal share of time to young artistes, as well as senior artistes, local as well as visiting artistes. Although the artistes did not stick to their allotted time, each performance was unique in its content and presentation. 

The evening began with an invocation by Manasi Prasad, the well known Carnatic musician and dancer.   

The Drishti dance ensemble (Disciples of Anuradha Vikranth), performed Pushpanjali with flawless synchronization and interesting patterns coupled with authentic style in choreography made a bright start to the festival.  
 

Drishti dance ensemble
Tandava
Tandava, a vibrant energetic all male group presented 30 minutes of non stop energy filled Bharatanatyam performance. They began with pushpanjali coupled with the traditional jarjara ritual, the placing of the flag staff and invoke the deities of 8 directions (Ashtadikpalakas) to ward off all the evils. The concluding dance was 'Chaturmukhi,' a signature piece of the Tandava group. The theme of this piece was energy, unique choreography and creativity in depicting Lord Shiva and his aspects.   

The group sketched the theme in 3 segments - the first one was emergence of Vak or the alphabets from Lord Shiva's Damaru. The slokas were from Panini sutras. The second being the five elements embodied in Lord Shiva from saint Thyagaraja's famous Krithi 'Naada Tanumanisham.' The last segment was the Tani Avarthanam, a percussion ensemble of a Carnatic kutcheri adapted to dance. 

All the four dancers Somashekar C, Ananth B N, Srinivasan R and Karthik Datar - proved their expertise and mastery over their chosen art form. The audience watched this with a lot of curiosity as these dancers covered the entire stage with swift leaps and jumps and brahmaris (circles) with great exuberance and aplomb. 

The visiting dancers Ronnie Shambik Ghose, Mitul Sen Gupta and Prasanna from Kolkata, presented Kathak and various western classical styles (Jazz, Tap and Flamenco) in amalgamation with contemporary movements. The images were juxtaposed on the back screen elucidating the theme of the dance. The dancers were at their fittest best. However many people in the audience felt that the dance piece was a little lengthy and the movements were repetitive. The choreography and blending of the styles was very appealing and stylish without compromising tradition. 
  

Kalari Academy of Performing Arts
Bangalore's leading Kalari group, Kalari Academy of Performing Arts led by Ranjan Mullarat presented a half hour of their choreographic works. All the dancers proved their prowess in their presentation. Neat body movements, and measured strides in martial art movements were breathtaking to watch. It was a fine blend of the traditional martial arts and dance... with entertainment as the main element. The highlight of their performance was Dialogue, a beautiful piece on dual aspects - it was well woven with dual motifs coupled with acrobatic movements and complicated choreography. 
  
The curtains for Drishti 2009 came down with a heart melting and lively performance by Mantap Prabhakar Upadhya. "Mantap" as he is popularly known, has made a mark in Karnataka for presenting Yakshagaana as a solo repertoire; his depiction of characters from mythology as an Ekartha Abhinaya is soul stirring.  
 
Mantap Prabhakar
Mantap Prabhakar
Mantap presented a unique and interesting side to Surpanaka, a negative character of Ramayana, instrumental in Ravana's destruction. Though humorous at times, the seriousness of the character was hypnotic in rendition. 

Apart from this, Drishti honored Mysore V Subramanya, senior art critic and musicologist and Vyjayanthi Kashi, well known Kuchipudi exponent, acknowledging their services to the art world. The chief guests IM Vittal Murthy and Dr. Suma Sudhindra were the audience favorites as they spoke briefly but effectively and acknowledged the services rendered by Anuradha and Vikranth in promotion of arts. 
  

Mysore V Subramanya
Vyjayanthi Kashi
Drishti also released its copy of all color 'Drishti,' an exclusive magazine for dance and music from Bangalore. Drishti added to history in bringing in new approaches to dance and its festivals. 
 

Veena Murthy Vijay, is a Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam exponent, television actor, organizer and entrepreneur. She is the director of Raja Rajeshwari Kalaniketan, Bangalore.