A tremendous finale to a fest
- 'Kavithalaya' Krishnan
Photos: a4 Medias

March 6, 2017

'Dance is music of the feet', 'Dance is a penance', 'Dance is a way of finding yourself and losing yourself both at the same time'. 'Great dancers are great not because of their technique but because of their passion'. These were the quotes that came to mind after watching G. Narendra and his troupe perform at the Sarasa Natya Mala on 21st February 2017 at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore, Chennai. It was the last program for the festival organized by Shanmuga Sundaram and it was indeed a tremendous finale, with full hall including the balcony, a tremendous sight to behold.

The first item presented was Shiva Navarasa, an item not attempted too often. It has been Narendra's long time wish to put this on stage. He has reworked the music, lyrics and added the swarams and jathis to suit the mood of the song. The 50 minute presentation also featured Deepa Narendra and senior students R.Rofia and S.Aparna. Narendra's second item was "Om Namo Narayana," a soulful devarnama. The program concluded with "Harivarasanam."

G. Narendra was born to dance, he was like a hungry lion foraging, a starving panther on the hunt, a thirsty hungry performer bewitching the adoring audience with a performance that was spellbinding as well as spiritually uplifting. Narendra and his dancers spun an enchanting web around those lucky to be assembled at the venue that day. The simplistic set and backdrop, the stunning costumes, all added a great visual value to an invigorating energetic almost flawless performance. We were told that this was a story that Narendra carried with him from his young age, a sort of penance that nagged him all these years and which finally came alive. Narendra translated all this into his dance; his students seemed to share the same intensity and hunger and the energy was incredible indeed. It all set the stage for Narendra's passionate appeal to keep this art form alive. As he so aptly cried, performance is about opportunities. So where are the opportunities? Where are the platforms? Where are the stages where creatively starved artists can perform?

The addiction for appreciation, for applause, is what drives a performer. What makes the blood course through his veins, what sets the heart pumping, what makes the adrenalin race, what keeps those feet alive. At the end of Narendra's show the audience were charged enough to break into an applause frequently as if realizing that this was a dancer who not only loved what he was doing, this was a performer to whom dance was not merely bread, but indeed his very breath.