Poetry in motion
- Lakshmi Rajkumar
e-mail: lakshmikrimo@gmail.com 
March 18, 2017

Ritu has arrived and how. The dazzling Kuchipudi dance extravaganza, held on 25th February 2017 rocked Vadakara, the quaint, little sleepy town of Kerala, a land of lip-smacking food delicacies and simple souls. The Kuchipudi fest blazed a trail for the art connoisseurs, provided a platform for budding dance artists and seasoned performers to delve deeper into their inner souls as they glided and swayed effortlessly to the compositions. 
Performing arts tend to unify the people in a way that nothing else does. Envisioned by Sisira Praveen, a dancer and a student of Alliance University Department of Performing Arts and ably supported by a motley group of performing art enthusiasts Sujith, Sriram and Babeesh, Ritu is the beginning of a long unwinding journey curated for promoting traditional art forms and imparting richness of indigenous dance forms to budding artists and aficionados.
The event kick started with a workshop for aspiring dancers, under the tutelage of Dr. Vasanth Kiran, (HOD, Dept of Performing Arts at Alliance University). Choreographed by him, the batch of 20 dancers swayed to Narayana Theertha’s Shiva Tharangam, a rare composition in Sri Krishna Leela Tharangini, in Ragamalika and adi talam. The bursts of joy and eagerness to learn loomed large in the eyes of the workshop students, many of whom were seasoned dance performers themselves hailing from different parts of Kerala. Shiva Tharangam explores the possibilities of revering the cosmic dancer Lord Shiva with Navarasa sloka, apart from other attributes. The Ananda Nartana of Lord Shiva is depicted using the nritta techniques on a brass plate.

The dancers executed intricate rhythmic patterns by dancing on the rim of brass plates to this beautiful composition (by Ramya Suraj).The bright and beaming faces of the disciples and the mastery of Vasanth Kiran recreated a festive mood in the hall. When Vasanth launches his body into the arc of one of his improbably sustained leaps, he becomes an incredible technician with an invisible technique. Most dancers are forced to make minute preliminaries to their leaps. Vasanth is simply airborne and for an instant at the highest point of his trajectory comes to a still, collected repose.
The inaugural event was presided by two popular names of the culture fabric of Kerala, MP Mullapally Ramachandran and business tycoon Gokulam Gopalan. The detailing and the efforts they put in their welcome speeches which synced totally with the theme of Ritu was impressive. Vasanth Kiran also delivered an engaging speech, along with T. Kelu, Municipal Counselor, Vadakara. The event saw more than 700 dance enthusiasts and art lovers who attended in person and also thousands through various social mediums. As was informed by the organizers during their speeches, Ritu aims at identifying talented young dancers from across the country, providing a platform for them to perform and showcase their talent. Two such special dancers were invited for showcasing their art: Amarjith Shil from AP and Margam Vaishnavi from Warangal.

Amarjith Shil

Margam Vaishnavi

Students of Alliance University


Amarjith Shil, a student of Srinivasa Art Academy and disciple of Dr. Shobha Naidu presented a poignant dance depiction of “Pag ghunguru bandh Meera nachi re” written by Meera Bai who befriends Giridhar Gopal and narrates the episode on Kaliya Mardana, her fearless and insane devotion towards Lord Krishna. The impassioned mood, defiance, longing, anticipation, joy and ecstasy of union were portrayed with panache by Shil, though at times the nuances went slightly overboard.

Young talent meteor Margam Vaishnavi hailing from Warangal, regaled the audience with her take on Ananda Thandavam in Ragamalika, adi talam, composed by Dr. C. Narayana Reddy. This was followed by the much awaited performance by the students of Alliance University led by Vasanth Kiran. The recital began with ‘Kuchipudi Salaam,’ a one of a kind composition that gave  glimpse of Kuchipudi’s nuances like nritta, nritya, natya, chari, karanas and ends with a salaam, which is an ode to King Abul Hassan Tanesha, the then Golconda Nawab who gifted the land, which is today’s Kuchipudi in Krishna District.

Theme for the evening was ‘Pancha Deveeyam,’ the concept of five goddesses uniting ultimately into goddess Lalitha. The dancers took a sequential entry one after the other, Prateeksha Kashi as Parvati, Aswini Nambiar as Lakshmi, Maalyada Anand as Saraswati, Rachana Narayanakutty as Gayatri Devi and Sonu Satheesh Kumar as Savitri. The intricate jathis, inspired choreography, pleasant music and perfect costuming made it a visual treat for the audience for a riveting 45 minutes. The lyrics penned by Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry and music by Prof. Durga Bhavani Vedantam had depth. The quicksilver movements and the finale of them uniting into goddess Lalitha, was a moment of goosebumps and the audience was left spellbound.

The ensemble cast led by Vasanth Kiran, Ramya Suraj and Sruthy Chandrasekhar on vocal were  melodious and equally powerful. Sreehari Anand on mridangam, Radhunandan on flute and Sangeeth on violin gave apt accompaniment. It would have been even more impactful had the light and sound systems been better.

Hailing from a family of cine actors and art enthusiasts, Lakshmi is a Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancer who appreciates art and art forms for its magical healing powers and vast outreach to mankind.