Aakash Ganga celebrates Annual Day
- Sumana Hebbar
e-mail: sumanabv@yahoo.com
Pics: Ashok Hebbar

August 28, 2013

Aakash Ganga (Singapore), the Foundation for Indian Fine Arts celebrated its annual day on August 11, 2013 at Spring Auditorium, Singapore. More than 80 students of Maalika Girish Panicker showcased a journey of fine melody, rhythm and dance in the presence of chief guests Dr. Uma Rajan, a doctor, dancer, humanitarian and Guru Kalpalathika, a gifted exponent of Kuchipudi.

Young students

Maalika Girish Panicker

The event featured a variety of vibrant dance items ranging from traditional, folklore, fusion to dance drama presentations.  The music ensemble included Guru Maalika Girish Panicker on nattuvangam, Lavanya Ramesh on vocal, S Devarajan on mridangam and K Sivaraman on the violin. The tone for the morning was set by the talented musicians who rendered their support for the first segment of the event with a salutation to Lord Ganesha. The youngest students of Aakash Ganga staged a string of basic Bharatanatyam techniques starting with adavus, the building blocks of Bharatanatyam. The adavus were creatively interlaced with melodious prayers to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswathi, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Nataraja and culminated in Pushpanjali and Alarippu. This was followed by a performance by Maalika who covered two aspects in her dance – depiction of the supreme form of Ardhanaareeshwara and Radha’s yearning for Krishna with his mellifluous flute. Maalika’s breathtaking performance and exemplary abhinaya brought an end to the first segment of the program.

The second segment commenced with Aakash Ganga’s first batch of Mohiniattam students set in praise of Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. This was followed by Chandrachooda Shiva Shankara, a rare composition of Purandara Dasa on Lord Shiva and Jaya Janaki Ramana, a Thodaya Mangalam. Three dance dramas unfolded next - ‘Trishakthi’ depicting the glory of the three divine couples Brahma-Saraswathi, Vishnu-Lakshmi, Shiva-Parvathi,  ‘Mahishasura Mardhini’  portraying the triumph of good over evil with Goddess Shakthi vanquishing the demon Mahisha and ‘Valli Devayanai Kalyanam’ celebrating the wedding of Lord Murugan with the celestial princess Devayanai and the tribal princess Valli. Maalika’s choreography for each dance drama kept the audience spellbound. The second segment ended with a befitting, vibrant Thillana. The visuals of the entire event were enhanced by apt, attractive backdrops in alignment with the concept of each dance item.



Valli Devayanai

Mahishasura Mardhini

In recognition of the students having completed 5th year, 8th year examinations and solo debut Bharatanatyam performance, Aakash Ganga awarded them with merit certificates. Dr. Uma Rajan observed that it was heartening to witness the commitment of students ranging from age of five to the senior performers, with a passion to give their best to Bharatanatyam and their guru. The event emphasized the fact that Maalika believes in giving her students a platform to perform at an early stage of learning and exposing them to challenges that are beyond the syllabus oriented tutelage.

The event ended with sumptuous lunch that aligned with the event in terms of its variety and quality. Aakash Ganga’s annual day this year was a festive event witnessing whole hearted participation by committed parents and students who proved that with discipline and hard work, it is feasible to strike a balance between hectic study life and extracurricular activities.

Aakash Ganga is a dance institution founded by Maalika Girish Panicker in September 2009. The institution teaches diversified dance forms including Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, folk and contemporary dance.