Articulate Festival edition 9
- Chittaranjan Mothikhane

February 25, 2017

The every 3rd Sunday of the month dance celebration, Articulate Festival saw its series 9 on 19th February 2017 at the Premier Convention Hall at Mysore. What sets this festival apart is the fact that there were no guests of honor because every 'prekshaka' was treated as their chief guest. The festival coordinator Mysore B Nagaraj says he would rather give dancers time to exhibit their artistry than guests give oral throw ups. The evening saw 4 segments, one each in Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kathak and Kuchipudi thus creating a moving canvas of Indian classical dances. The proof of success of a festival is by the fact that the prekshakas remained seated throughout the three hour concert.

Surat based artist Jugnu Kiran Kapadia with her obeisance to Ganesha opened the first segment in Bharatanatyam. The kouthvam was in Hamsanandi raga composed by Gangaimuttu Nattuvanar. A jovial request of a devotee asking Krishna to just come but not dancing all his way for it would stir the fourteen worlds and would dishevel his hair while his peacock feather might drop down. ‘In the presence of the cosmic dancer Shiva at Gokula your dance is enchanting and the one who hears the tinkling of your ankle bells will surely attain salvation.’ This was the scenario enacted in the Madhyamavathi raga, adi tala based composition of Oothukadu Venkata Kavi. Before concluding with a tillana in raga Kanada, a Tanjavur Quartet composition, Jugnu Kapadia presented a keertana of Thyagaraja "Ksheera sagara shayana" set to Devagandhari, adi tala. Her entire presentation was sans gimmicks or overdose of strenuous nritta, it was just elegant and well balanced.

Jugnu Kiran Kapadia

Meghana Das

Chic personified was Meghana Das’s performance of Odissi. "Kadachit" was her opening act where she prayed to Lord Jagannath for spiritual guidance. A dance form that is submerged in Vaishnavism was given a twist with a rendition of a composition on Shiva. The blend of sensual grace and virile stance projecting the lord in myriad ways showed Meghana’s grip on the dance medium. A conversation or rather a gentle rebuke by mother Yashodha to child Krishna in Odiya was well emoted and a pleasant piece she chose to conclude her recital. She justified the choreography of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra in the dance of Shiva and that of her mother Guru Sahana Das in the Odiya song. This second segment of the festival continued the euphoria of watching classical dance.

Unleash of energy, mercurial movements and whirlwind brahmaris perched Kathak connoisseurs on the edge of the seat. The very entry of the Drupad composition on Shiva was vibrant that was sustained throughout the dance in this invocatory number. Laxminarayan Jena, disciple of Guru Mysore B Nagaraj set the stage on fire with nritta and padakriya. Kannada language fit well into Hindustani music that was well exploited to present a Sreedha Vittala’s Nindha Stuti in a north Indian classical dance format. The devotee demands an explanation from Lord Vishnu as to why he would not respond to his ardent call. He was the one who came down to protect the elephant from the jaws of the crocodile, the one who descended more than 10 times to the avid cry of distressed people, but would not answer his prayers. Jena’s expression was subtle and satvik. Triwat that translated percussion syllables into movement was the concluding act of his recital where his ankle bells echoed perfectly the percussion beats bringing the third segment to a close.

Laxminarayan Jena

Chethan Gangatkar & Chandraprabha Chetan
The final was a Kuchipudi recital by the husband and wife duo Chethan Gangatkar and Chandraprabha Chetan.  The couple chose Tarangam of Sri Narayana Thirtha for their opening act, while describing the beauty of young Krishna, his dance and gait was reflected in the acrobatic steps dexterously manipulated while precariously perched on the rim of a brass plate. They concluded their Kuchipudi with C.R. Acharyulu’s composition on Shiva and his Sandhya Tandava that was set in Ragamalika and talamalika. The sahithya when interpreted through dance one saw fleeting glimpse of various karanas and charis. What remained in the hearts of the onlookers as they crossed the threshold of the auditorium was the javali they performed before tandava. The situation of a husband trying to excuse himself from the fault of not keeping his promise of bringing some kundan jewelry to his wife was humorous and vivacious.  A Kannada javali in Kuchipudi was refreshing.