Sai Nrityotsava 2 
- Mysore B Nagraj, Bangalore 

July 9, 2009 

Sai Arts International, Bangalore presented its second SAI NRITYOTSAVA on the 1st of July 2009, at Seva Sadan, Bangalore. This organization, established in 1993, has dedicated itself for the support and cause of Indian classical dance art. Its every month program is an attempt to provide a good platform both for the child dancers and the upcoming adult artistes, which is commendable. The series two presented six segments by various artists of Bangalore. 

In its enthusiasm to support child artistes, the concert provided nearly an hour slot to the disciples of Aradhana Institute of Bharatanatyam, Bangalore. Eight children groomed in this classical style by Guru Sudha Nagaraj presented a series of dances dominated by Haridasa sahithya. The audio track used for the performance was far from acceptable quality and most were culled from the commercial records that did not belong to the dance generic. In spite of the best efforts the children put, no good impression was left in the minds of the rasikas.  

The evening however came to life with the vibrant Bharatanatyam performance of Nishant Aravindakshan and Veena Chandra Shekar. The two chose very impressive repertoire which they justified by their geometrically precise movement, statuesque poses and expression that brought out the bhakthi and the pleading essence. Nishant and Veena commenced with "Natesha Kaouthwam" in Nata Raga that was set to Chaturashra Eka Tala. Veena proceeded in a solo recital of "Akhilandeshwari," a Muthuswamy Dikshitar composition in Dwijawanti Raga set to Adi Tala. Nishant chose to plead Rama for a compassionate glance by the lord, with the song "Ra Ra Rajeeva Lochana Rama." This Mysore Vasudevacharya composition was in Mohana Raga set to Adi Tala. The two concluded their recital with a fast paced Tillana in Raga Desh and Khanda Triputa Tala. The friendly duel the dancers indulged in with brisk foot work, each giving fitting replies for challenges thrown across was a unique vision. Absence of musicians on stage escaped attention by exquisite pre-recorded music. Guru Suparna Venkatesh's efforts in training them showed aesthetic results.  

Suneetha Manjunath was presented by her Guru Dharani T Kashyap in Bharatanatyam. Suneetha rendered "Shivashtakam" of Srimad Bhagawathpada Adhi Shankaracharya, in Mohana Raga and Khandachapu Tala. Before ending with a Thillana in Kanada raga and Rupaka Tala, a composition of Ponnayya Pillai, she interspersed a Devaranama of Purandara Dasa “Neene Anatha Bandhu” in raga Nadanamakriya set to Adi Tala. The artiste's training and her artistry got lost in the dancer's frame that was on a heavier side. However some of her well balanced poses and expressive eyes that emoted the essence that was in the Haridasa composition made a pleasant presentation. Rama Jagannath's vocal support and Dharani’s able nattuvangam gave her dance a gilded edge. 

After three Bharatanatyam segments, the third in the series of the concert came as a refreshing breeze that twisted and twirled unfurling the technical virtuosity of the classical dance of North India. Sweekruth embellished his mercurial movements by his dexterously manipulated cadence of ankle bells. He commenced with an obeisance to Lord Ganesh through a traditional Sanskrit composition. The nritta caliber was flaunted with verve and energy through a maze of bandish set in Dhamar Taal. The Tarana in Pooryadhanashree set to teentaal was an elegant conclusion that received applauses. But what set Sweekruth apart is his interpretation of Goswamy Tulasidasji's eternally appealing bhajan "Sri Ramachandra Krupala Bhajamana."  Weaning the spectators from the usual dose of bhakthi, Sweekruth portrays the spectrum of village characters and their celebration of Ramanavami while he moves in and out of various roles. Lord Rama, coming to celebrate his own birthday, astonished to see the revelers in high spirits and happy to be a part of such a beautiful festivity was well rendered. While the bhajan was choreographed by him, the other numbers were choreographed by Gurus Maulik Shah and Ishira Parikh.  

Bringing attention back to Bharatanatyam was Guru Poornima Ashok's disciple Medha Dixit. Giving a different approach to open recitals was her choice to perform Thodium in Ghambhira Naata and Adi Tala. She executed the movements in an unhurried pace letting the audience savor the beauty of the dance form. The fleeting depiction of the navarasas while describing the dance of Shiva and the sympathetic swaying of his ornaments to his dance came out beautifully in her rendition of Shiva sthuti in Faraz Raga and Adi Tala. Lord Rama not failing to come to the earnest call of Ahalya, Jatayu and Shabari was her way to give the message that Lord Rama is compassionate towards his bhakthas. Mysore Vasudevacharya's composition "Ra Ra Rajeeva Lochana" was the lyrical vehicle she chose to narrate Rama's benevolence.  

The concluding recital of the concert was by Priya Raman. Well tutored by her Gurus Shuba Dhananjay and Geeta Chandran, her stage presence, her dance caliber, her expressional face, her grace caught the attention of the assembled connoisseurs of dance art. Without giving much stress on the technical aspect of dance, she made a good choice of depicting very effectively, a Virahothkantitha Nayika in her Varnam composed by Sri N Narasimhiah in Raga Malike and Adi Tala and a Mugdha Nayika in a Javali set to Kamach Raga and Chaturashra Ek Tala.  But what was unfortunate for the audience was to witness these items as a concluding number that ended damp to an otherwise very entertaining evening. 

Kathak dancer Mysore B Nagraj is the Artistic Director of Articulate, that promotes performing arts, takes social responsibility of the visually challenged.