Dasavataram, dance avataram
- Shveta Arora
e-mail: shwetananoop@gmail.com
Pics: Anoop Arora

November 20, 2015

The 9th Delhi International Arts Festival was organized by Prathibha Prahladís Prasiddha Foundation. The festival opened on the 16th of October and continued till the 31st of October at various venues across the city. It is an extravaganza of music and dance, which includes folk dance, world music, bands, percussion and choral music, a theatre festival, a film festival, a childrenís film festival and a world arts festival. It provides a great platform for young artists. The logo for the festival is artistically imaginative, almost like the ashtabhuji Durga holding various weapons in her hands. DIAF also falls in the festival season.

When we reached the venue on one of the days, a band of youngsters was rehearsing for the final event. It was fun watching them rehearse. The first to perform that day was Odissi dancer Vani Madhav, a disciple of the late Guru Deba Prasadís lineage through gurus Gajendra Panda and Sudhakar Sahu. She presented the Jagannnath Ashtakam, an ode to Lord Jagannath, who resides with his brother and sister near the ocean in Puri. After the pushpanjali, Vani depicted the attributes of Lord Krishna - flute, the peacock feather, the lotus face and lotus eyes, riding the chariot, dayasindhu (ocean of kindness), with Radha by his side. Vaniís movements were graceful, but the dance space was very informal, with the bandís drums in the background. The floor too was very harsh on the dancerís feet, and the time allotted to her was quite less.

Vani Madhav

Disciples of Kanaka Sudhakar

Next was a Bharatanatyam group performance by the disciples of guru Kanaka Sudhakar, a well-known exponent of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. Her disciples performed to Dasavataram, a composition in ragam Tilang, adi talam. It is known as a laghuvarnam and is a description of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. After an invocation to Lord Krishna, the group went on to portray the avatars in varied formations. The energy of the footwork and well rehearsed formations set them apart. Aparajita, leading the group, said that it was a result of many years of sadhana. The group finished the performance with the Lord reclining on the Shesha, Lakshmi at his feet and Garuda in attendance.

Shveta Arora is a blogger based in Delhi. She writes about cultural events in the capital.