Sangeetha's elegant Odissi
- Vijay Shanker

March 21, 2013
As part of the Horizon series, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) presented an Odissi recital by talented dancer Sangeetha Rajan at the Rangeshwar Auditorium of the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai on March 7. The performance was noteworthy for its elegance, precise execution of the technique and command over expressional dancing.

Tall and blessed with a pleasing personality, Sangeetha commenced with the invocatory number Mangalacharan, seeking blessings from the presiding deity of Odissi dance, Lord Jagannath. This number introduced the audience to the typical gait and characteristics of the Odissi dance style pertaining to both sensibility and sensuality, which was further evident in the Madhuvanti Pallavi that started with the medium tempo and slowly proceeded rapidly in speed, creating a fine synthesis of both music and rhythm. Sangeetha created a good impression as she danced with flawless ease and accuracy and also succeeded in exposing the varied tribhangis, after completing every musical interlude. This number is a choreography of her mentor Guru Debi Basu, who is one of the foremost Odissi exponents in Mumbai.

After the poetic Ashtapadi of Jayadeva "Pasyati disi disi" in raag Desh set to ektaal that vividly describes the inter-relationship between Radha and Krishna, Sangeetha performed the popular Oriya number "Ahe neela shaila" that incorporates the ardent devotion of a Muslim who goes through all trials and tribulations and emerges as a peaceful person. This Oriya composition is the highlight number of most Odissi performances and was the ‘piece-de-resistance’ of the evening. Sangeetha has a natural flair for abhinaya and hence could explore into more thematic expositions. The program concluded with the number on salvation known as Moksha, wherein the human soul merges with the supreme soul.

Although Sangeetha started her career as a Bharatanatyam dancer, it is pleasing to note that she has imbibed the lasya oriented Odissi style to quite a good extent and performs regularly at various occasions both in India and abroad. 

Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.