Abhinaya in Ashtapadi: an enriching workshop

May 5, 2015

A workshop on ‘Abhinaya in Ashtapadi’ by Dr. Sonal Mansingh was presented by World Dance Alliance - Karnataka Chapter in association with IGNCA from 22nd to 25th April at Smriti Nandan Auditorium, Bangalore. World Dance Alliance - Karnataka Chapter is an organization aiming at having both academic and performance oriented activities which leads to the overall experience of dance. Veena Murthy Vijay as its president and the executive committee comprising of Anuradha Vikranth, Shama Krishna and Madhulitha Mohapatra left no stone unturned to make this a memorable experience for the dancers.
Dance is a passion, a hobby, an exercise, an entertainment, a profession, a therapy.  Dance means different things for different people.  But rarely do we come across artists for whom dance is bigger than their own existence, for whom dance is their identity, for whom dance defines their entire life.  Dancers who attended the workshop were fortunate to have spent four days sharing the insights and experiences of a legend like Dr. Sonal Mansingh.  This unique abhinaya workshop focused on the Geeta Govinda by the poet Jayadeva.
It was interesting to listen to Sonal Mansingh’s understanding of the Geeta Govinda, her intense study of the poet’s background, and her interpretation of the ashtapadi.  The dancers were not taught any choreography in a conventional manner but were fed with such intricate detailed understanding of the lyrics, execution of aesthetic abhinaya, subtle but impactful nuances of sringara and were asked to choreograph the ashtapadi themselves.  The participants not only found this experience challenging but also found themselves thrilled with the realization of what goes into a complete experience of choreographing.  Sonal herself reviewed, corrected and improved each individual’s choreography, in order to bring out the best in each participant.  She also guided the dancers as to how music has to be understood before choreographing and what format of rhythm suits what emotion.  She shared some of her personal experiences which led her to where she is. Her overall view of life, the warmth that reverberates in her every action, her love for life and dance were very inspiring to the dancers.  At the end of the four days, the participants were left with an incomparable satisfaction, an insatiable thirst to learn and an unforgettable experience to treasure.
Set in the calm and serene ambience of Smriti Nandan on Palace Road, Bangalore, the workshop was ideally supported by IGNCA which has been taking immense interest in encouraging and propagating our rich classical and traditional arts.