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Celebrating the legacy of Guru Rohini Bhate
- Satish Suri
Photos: Jayasimha Reddy

March 23, 2018

Riddham Kathak School was set up by Sampada Pillai to foster and nourish the high classicism and expression of the Kathak repertoire of her late guru Dr.Rohini Bhate. Celebrating the fifth year of its establishment, Riddham Kathak School presented two genres on February 3, 2018 at Ramana Maharishi Centre for Learning, Bangalore, to celebrate the spirit and glorious tradition of the consummate artist Rohini Bhate.

The opening statement by Sampada Pillai and her disciples Anjali Nair, Mimamsa Varma, Kuhu Sharan, Sakshi Taula, Shama Anugodumath and Girija Anugodumath was 'Surya Vandana,' composed and rendered by Pandit Jasraj, which had the markings of good choreography and expression of the vocabulary with competent execution. The next piece 'Agni Tarana' composed by Sandeep Ranade, explored the manifestation of the God of Fire with the artists performing with clear articulated movements.

'Aayo Basant' composed and rendered by Pt.Rattan Sharma describes the season of new beginnings of Basant Ritu, interpreted by the artists in a breezy performance. The Taraana in raag Marwa and teen taal composed and choreographed by Rohini Bhate and performed by Sampada Pillai bore testimony to her strength of understanding of the idiom as well as the expressive synergetic movements that had a sense of elegance and harmony. The junior artists of Riddham, namely Alisha Ann Joshi, Sanskriti Bharadwaj, Hriddi Sinha and Mahi Kumar presented "Lachaka Chalata," a geet describing the glory and attributes of Krishna in their own delightful way.

Sampada Pillai

BP Sweekruth

Disciples of Sampada Pillai

Disciples of Sweekruth

Sathkrutha Academy of Movement and Expression led by Sweekruth and his team of dancers commenced with "Vedasara Shiva Stotram" composed by Praveen D Rao with the dancers Divya Bhat Shefali, Vandana Shankar and Roshani in full flow. The piece choreographed by Sweekruth describes the various attributes of Lord Shiva. "Pashunaam patim paapa nashm," the rhythmic movements were depicted with demanding technique and grace.

The solo presentation 'Taal Dhamaar' by Sweekruth, in the 14 beat cycle was visually stunning with complex rhythms and executed with an intensity and dexterity of movement that left a lasting impression on the audience. The Taraana in Bhairavi, a composition of Pt.Ravishankar presented by Divya Shefali,Vandana and Roshani was full of colour and vibrant in its execution. Sweekruth returned with a change in costume and a flamboyance to present a solo piece called 'Bliss' which explored an abstract theme choreographed in the framework of classical Kathak. Set in raag Jog and teen taal, it was an inspiring performance expressing the emotion of joy that a person goes through in life.

Rajashree Jawadekar and disciples

The finale for the day was provided by the graceful Rajashree Jawadekar, a senior disciple of Rohini Bhate, and her students Sakshi Orpe and Arya Jawadekar. The opening number "Chandika Stuti" described the great goddess born from the male divinities, when gods became impotent in the long drawn battle with the Asuras. Choreographed by Rajashree Jawadekar with music by Ajay Prasad, the piece brought out the structural beauty of Kathak, the finesse and delicacy of the choreography. 'Roop Kathak' offered glimpses of graceful movements and interesting rhythmic sequences which highlighted the performance of the group consisting of Rajashree, Sampada Pillai, Sakshi Orpe and Arya Jawadekar.

The Thumri, "Yaad piya ki aayi", a solo presentation by Rajashree explored the longing of a woman waiting for her husband. It included a Doha and the performance was enriched by the nuanced abhinaya and rasa incorporated in the framework of classical sentiment. The kavit Daksha Yagya unfolded the theme of the tragic story of Sati,who immolated herself when her father insults her husband Lord Shiva. The poetry by Lacchu Maharaj and choreography by Rohini Bhate was adapted to a group performance by Rajashree bringing it to life with commanding technique and concentrated footwork. The Taraana in raag Hamsadhwani and teen taal, with its aesthetics and creative interpretation executed in a resplendent manner provided a fitting tribute to the legacy of Late Rohini Bhate.

Bangalore based Satish Suri is an avid dance rasika besides being a life member of the Music and Arts Society.