Darpana dazzle at Hampi and DIAF

November 23, 2016

Darpana’s participation at two leading dance festivals brought the art connoisseurs much awaited visual treats at both Hampi and Delhi International Arts Festivals.  At Hampi, Mallika Sarabhai and Darpana Performing Group had their Bharatanatyam performance on 3rd November 2016.  The program comprised the songs selected and performed by Mallika’s mother Mrinalini Sarabhai in her prolific career propagating Bharatanatyam all over the world.  Titled ‘Longing for the Beloved…Love Songs to Siva,’ the performance was indeed an offering to every iconic representation of Siva endowed with multiple mythological references.  Technically no Bharatanatyam performance can be complete without at least one dance in praise of Siva, but this dance extravaganza celebrated his mighty existence and mysticism throughout the concert.

Mallika Sarabhai

Revanta Sarabhai

The show began with ‘Navasandhi Kavuthuvam’ and moved on to the dance of bliss “Aananda Koothadinar.” The padam, “Kandu Sholvay” showed the nayika forlorn, believing that Siva had forgotten her. Pace and momentum of the items reached a peak in “Shambho Jaya” and the next item “Rupamu juchi” brought out the longing again where the nayika questions Siva for being angry with her. This was followed by the vigorous ‘Ananda Tandavam’ danced by Pooja Purohit. “Eppo varuvaro” brought down the pace once again and the aspect of longing was predominant in this piece.  The performance ended with a thillana “Shivoham.” The show reiterated the fact that Mrinalini Sarabhai's classicism and scholarship that were instrumental in transforming this art form from a ‘ritual’ to a classical art is relevant even today.

Revanta and Mallika Sarabhai
On 14th November, at Delhi’s Sangeet Natak Akademi’s theatre Meghdoot 1, it was a duet performed by the iconic mother-son duo, Mallika and Revanta Sarabhai, as part of the Delhi International Arts Festival. The evening began with the Ganesha Kauthuvam by Revanta to set the pace of what followed. Padam “Natiyinchu ni” set to ragam Kamboji was a jugalbandhi between Shiva and Parvati, from the myth of their dance competition. Legend has it that at one stage of the dance competition Shiva raised his leg over his head, and although Parvati could have easily done so, she didn't think it proper, and thus unfairly lost the competition. In this fast paced and intricate piece the two dancers talked of and demonstrated the competition, weaving jathis and swaras together while marveling at the beauty of the duo and their sons.
Padam “Tavaro pizhaiyo” was a bold and innovative creation by Mallika, a result of her pursuit outside the codified boundaries of Bharatanatyam.  With her own lyrics set to Ragamalika to the original music of Kanniks Kannikeswaran, Mallika addressed issues and pains of a non-heterosexual world making the audience feel the depth of true love above the tag of gender and many other bifurcations that society imposes on humans.  Indeed an aesthetic contemplation in dance, most pure that intellect can be.
Swathi Thirunal’s famous Dhanasri Thillana, the last item in the repertoire left the audience spellbound with the duo’s brisk, flawless and decorous movements wrapped in grace and charm. With adept vocal support by Jayan Nair, Annadurai on violin, Palanivelu on mridangam and Manikandhan on ghatam, the performance juxtaposed technically within classicism and tradition, and at the same time opened the doors of experimental aesthetics characterized by a subject-based, inductive approach, taking Bharatanatyam to new vistas.