The wonderment of Ramayana by Academy of Bharatanatyam
- Satish Suri
Pics courtesy: Gayathri Keshavan

August 11, 2016

Seventeen dancers of The Academy of Bharatanatyam run by Gayathri Keshavan, took to the stage to translate the personal imprint and vision of their guru.They electrified the performing space with their presentation on the 17th July at the A.D.A.Rangamandira, Bangalore.Their invocatory piece, a Mallari in Gambhira nattai and adi tala, had all the dynamics of a vibrant piece with a brilliant exposition of sollukattus with jathis of musical instruments heralding the procession of the deity.

The subject of Ramayana has been the inspiration of many creative minds in the performing arts. The wizardry and stagecraft of Gayathri Keshavan transformed the twenty-five words of the “Eka Shloka Ramayanam” into a narrative of prodigious artistry and imaginative exposition. The performance was punctuated with expansive sancharis - of Rama going to the forest, the killing of Maricha, the kidnapping of Sita, Jatayu being killed, Rama meeting Sugriva, the killing of Vali, the conquering of the sea, the burning of Lanka by Hanuman, Ravana and Kumbhakarna being annihilated and the final coronation. The artists maintained the flow with vibrant jathis, graceful and detailed abhinaya packed by emotional intensity and poignancy mesmerising the audience.

The dancers Amruthavarshini, Sanvidha, Veena Sethi, Sampratha, Bindumathi Satish, Meenakshi Ananth, Hashwini, Akash Narsipure, Supreeta, Pavithra Sekhar, Lupthika, Bhusnigdha Soppa, Anupama, Snehashree, Raagini, Vibha Suresh and Vedhika Srilakshmi did ample justice to their roles. The presentation had a slow measured grace and finesse in adherence to the tradition of the Tanjore style of dance. The entry and exit of the artists had no flurry or hurry, was calibrated and coordinated to the ping of the nattuvangam of Gayathri Keshavan and complemented by the vocal intonation of Raghuram, the rhythmic play by Narayanaswamy on the mridangam and Prasanna Kumar on the khanjira with Karthik on flute providing the poetic flavour.

The dancers concluded with a visual treat in the form of thillanna in Khamas to the applause and approbation of the audience, present to the full capacity of the auditorium.

Poornima Gururaja,the guest of honour,commented on the tradition, style and form of dance that Gayathri Keshavan adhered to, which itself stood as a benchmark for the practitioners of Bharatanatyam. A deeply personal moment for Gayathri Keshavan was that her mother had prompted her to do the Ramayana and the day being her death anniversary, she was honoured to make this offering thus fulfilling her mother's desire.
Bangalore based Satish Suri is an avid dance rasika besides being a life member of the Music and Arts Society.