Poorna Margam: Project of Natyarangam

September 30, 2016

On the completion of 20 years, Natyarangam, the dance wing of the Narada Gana Sabha Trust, took stock of its activities and decided to launch project POORNA MARGAM wherein a senior dancer will perform all the items of a traditional margam in a two-hour duration. Due to paucity of time as programs are limited to one-and-a half hours or less, there is no time for the dancer to explore the entire margam of Bharatanatyam as structured by the Tanjore Quartet. Within the shorter duration too there is an imbalance in programming as the varnam takes up more than half the concert time and several shorter, beautiful and nuanced pieces do not find a place in modern-day concerts. As a result there is an exodus from the hall after the varnam!

Manjari Chandrasekhar
Natyarangam launched Poorna Margam to reiterate and highlight the beauty of every individual item in the Bharatanatyam margam. Poorna Margam has a threefold purpose.

1. To revive the traditional format drawn by the Thanjavur Quartet for a recital of Bharatanatyam. It is a logical progression of individual items with equal emphasis on nritta (pure dance) and abhinaya (expressive dance). In the last few decades some of the items have come to be omitted which may soon become obsolete. Several factors have contributed to this development. POORNA MARGAM attempts to bring back into current practice, all the items on the Margam repertoire.

2. To create awareness and interest among the audience about the poetic, lyrical and emotive beauties of abhinaya, that forms the latter half of the Bharatanatyam concert. At present major part of the audience for Bharatanatyam leave after the varnam in the recital. This creates a lopsided appreciation of the art and rejects what is considered the soul of the performance, namely rasa, the aesthetic aspect of the art. 

3. To bring into current repertoire old and rarely handled items of Bharatanatyam.  Teachers and dancers tend to have a preference to new and contemporary items and have little interest in going back to vintage items.

Natyarangam will present two recitals of Poorna Margam in a year in the third week of any month, one for each half year. This will be of a minimum duration of 2 hours and will feature a solo dancer with a high level of proficiency in nritta and maturity in abhinaya.

The inaugural recital of the project was performed by Sreelatha Vinod, senior disciple of the Dhananjayans on 22nd September 2014 at the mini hall of the Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai. Other versatile dancers who performed the Poorna Margam are A. Lakshmanaswamy, Lavanya Ananth and Narthaki Nataraj. Manjari Chandrasekhar presented her Poorna Margam on 17 September 2016, in which she performed items composed and popularized by her father and Guru Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar.