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Talented young dancers
- Vijay Shanker

June 5, 2017

As part of the mini-concert series, Sangeet Kala Kendra in association with Kalasadan and Indian National Theatre (INT) - Aditya Birla Centre, presented two talented classical dancers at the Saraswati Hall in Chowpatty, Mumbai on 7th May. The mini-concert series is aimed to expose the talent of young dancers in different styles.

This program was part of the foundation day celebrations of Kalasadan Cultural Society which was founded on 1st May 1954 by Kalasadan Guru Mani. Kalasadan holds the distinction of being among the foremost institutions to commence Bharatanatyam classes in Mumbai. Over the years, Kalasadan has produced several dancers; many of them are professionals today. The legacy moves forward with Nataraja Gopal (eldest son of Guru Mani), Sharada Ganesan and Nandini Ganesan. It was Guruji's dream to establish a complete Gurukul named as Chintamani Ashram of Fine Arts in Titvala. The work has begun but donations are welcome.

The program commenced with the traditional invocatory number known as Manglacharan in praise of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the Odissi dance style. Apurva Dani is the disciple of Odissi guru Jhelum Paranjape and Ankur Ballal. Apurva's performance revealed her passion and sincerity in the involvement of Odissi. Besides the interpretation of Jayadeva's ashtapadi "Sakhi he keshi madana mudaram" that establishes the inter-relationship between Radha and Krishna, the number that proved to be the piece-de-resistance of the evening was the interpretation of the Oriya composition "Ahe neela" that unfolds the story of the Muslim poet Salabeg who was an ardent devotee of Lord Jagannath. His suffering as a leprosy patient and ultimately how he overcomes all his sufferings forms the crux of the presentation. This number also revealed the dramatic portrayal of Gajendra Moksham, Draupadi Vastraharanam and Prahlada as the ardent devotee of the lord and the appearance of Narasimha. Blessed with a charming personality suitable for the Odissi dance style, Apurva can rise as a fine dancer if she continues to dance with the same amount of zeal and passion.

Apurva Dani

Anand Satchidanandan

Anand Satchidanandan is the disciple of the Dhananjayans. His powerful display of the Bharatanatyam technique with neat and distinct movements was the highlight of the performance. In the elaborate Atana varnam "Ninne ne nera," a composition of Thuraiyur Rajagopala Sharma, the devotee asks why the lord does not give him the blessings and place he aspires for. He cites varied examples of Lakshmi, Gajendra and others being blessed and wonders when he will be blessed too. Slim and quite tall, Anand has a natural flair for abhinaya which was also observed in the padam "Yaro ivar yaro" in Bhairavi ragam that interprets Lord Rama's first encounter with Sita in the garden of Mithila that leaves an everlasting impression on him. Anand concluded the performance with the intricate Behag thillana in khanda talam that revealed the dancer's command over rhythmic movements, footwork and stylized movements that were executed precisely. Anand is among the few talented male classical dancers of Mumbai to look out for.

Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.