8th Drishti Dance Festival
- G Ulaganathan
e-mail: ulag_nath@yahoo.com 

February 15, 2013

January 2013 in Bangalore saw a feast of culture like never before and almost all the sabhas and auditoriums were jam packed with connoisseurs and art lovers. It was almost like the December season in Chennai and even in the first week of February there was still music in the air. The month also witnessed one of the eagerly awaited dance festivals, the Drishti Dance Festival, quite aptly on the Republic Day, the 26th. By all accounts it was a stupendous success with each inch of space at the picturesque Chowdiah Hall occupied. There was hardly any space even to stand on one leg. The hall was filled with students of dancer-guru-choreographer and the organizer of this festival, Anuradha Vikranth who performed the opening solo number. Anuradha and her husband Vikranth have been organizing this festival for the past 8 years and the event includes performances, felicitation to gurus and other well known people in the field of performing arts.

There were performances by four well known groups - Nrityantar, Drishti dance ensemble, Punya dance ensemble, and Samudra from Kerala.  Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh and Kathak duo Nirupama and Rajendra from Bangalore were honored with ‘Drishti Puraskar’ on this occasion for their contribution to the field of music and dance. Carnatic musician RK Padmanabha and Canara Bank general manager Ravindra Bhandary were the chief guests. Dr. T Manjunath presided.

The program began with the invocation piece by Nrityantar dance ensemble. The young dancer Madhulita Mohapatra is a promising Odissi performer based in Bangalore and she has started Nrityantar dance school for Odissi, She presented Dhyayeth Suvarna Varna, an invocatory item in praise of Goddess Durga. The music was composed by Guru Gopal Chandra Panda and choreography was by Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and Aruna Mohanty.

Nrityantar dance ensemble

The second performance was by Anuradha Vikranth and Drishti dance ensemble. Drishti ensemble presented ‘Samarpana’ paying obeisance to the Lord and saluting the contribution of the panchamahabhuta, the nature, gurus, elders and all the forces which have blessed us to be an artiste. Choreographed by Anuradha Vikranth to music by Praveen D Rao, it was performed by Anuradha Vikranth and her students Tincy Monnappa, Aishwarya T, Shubha K and Archana Jois. Next came a brilliant solo by Anuradha, a shiva sthuti which describes the attributes of Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer. In this piece, two interesting tales were woven with lovely stagecraft -how Ravana wants to win the athmalinga from Shiva and how he plays rudra veena with strings from his intestine to win the athmalinga. In another tale, Ganga flows down ferociously and destroys everything. Then Shiva ties her down in his matted locks and contains her ferocity. It was a riveting performance and Anuradha’s lovely costume, the quick footwork, bhavas and symmetrical movements on stage were a visual treat.

Anuradha Vikranth

Drishti dance ensemble

The third performance was by Punya dance ensemble of Upadhye School of Dance, Bangalore, headed by Parshwanath Upadhye. Though based on Bharatanatyam, team Punyah did not confine itself to a particular margi (regional) style and explored different creative aspects of other Indian art forms. They presented ‘Punyah Krishna,’ a journey of the bhaktas along with their Lord Krishna - the journey of atma along with paramatma. The dancers offered their mind, body and soul through their divine dance, which is so dear to Lord Krishna. Punyah Krishna was based on few selected verses taken from Aadi Shankaracharya's Krishnashtakam and Bhaje Vrijaika Mandanam.

Punya dance ensemble


Samudra is the flagship creative dance group in Thiruvananthapuram. With Madhu Gopinath and Vakkom Sajeev at the helm of Samudra, it is known for its visually stunning and rhythmically resonating productions. For this occasion, they presented ‘Jalam,’ Samudra’s much acclaimed production. It is about water and its many forms of energy, basically capturing many temperaments of Mother Earth reflected in ‘Universal Solvent.’ It explored the multiple facets of the element - how it brings relief, how it causes pralayam or disaster, and it how it is being abused and polluted by modern man. In Jalam, Samudra presented a performance that weaves in the divinity of water, its painless attachment and its formless form. The dance combined beautifully the graceful classical dance style and the vigorous, masculine force of Kalaripayattu. The dancers were Madhu Gopinath, Vakkom Sajeev, Aneesh, Priyanka P, Madhu Chandran,  Deepu Bhasi and Aji Kumar K. 

G Ulaganathan is a Bangalore based writer and dance critic.