Artistes bloom in Navapallava
- Dr. M. Surya Prasad
July 6, 2019
Behind every virtuosic performance, there is a quiet group of forces. Patronage of various forms, scales and levels are important key factors. With the profusion of talented dancers it becomes very difficult in getting opportunities to exhibit their talents and expertise. Royal and temple patronage are no longer in existence. Without presentations, dance cannot thrive. The success of dance and the dancer entirely depends upon the dancer's quality and quantity of performances. In such circumstances, the importance of stage performances becomes vital. In a country with minuscule government funds allocated to the arts, individual contributors play an indelible role in creating opportunities for dance performances. It is saddening to note that, of late, exploitative trends reign supreme in the classical music and dance arena. The artistes have been compelled to pay and perform. Exhibition of talent and expertise has become expensive.
Well known Kuchipudi natya virtuoso Guru Vyjayanthi Kashi and her like-minded dance champions like Sharmila Biswas of Kolkata and others who love dance have ventured into donning the roles of patrons. Navapallava, a monthly program series to be held in the above mentioned mentors' places seeks to support the dancers and make connections to others with a shared sense of impact. Getting to know the dancers is another key motivator; these direct interactions make the experience rewarding. Such a performance undoubtedly gives you resources in the way of real, practical, logistical things that you need as a performer. It provides a sense of community and emotional support and will impact the strength and longevity of a useful artistic career.
The Navapallava series under the patronage of Shambhavi Dance Theatre led by Vyjayanthi Kashi was launched by Dr. S.N. Susheela, Chairperson, Dept. of Performing Arts, Bengaluru University. The compact and cozy dance space was inspiring. Ramya Suresh was at home in the enactment of Kanakadasa's popular Devaranama "Baagilanu teradu." After beautifully establishing the bhakti as sthayi bhava, Gajendra Moksha, Draupadi maana samrakshana, Vishwaroopa darshana and other episodes were dramatized as sancharis.
Vaidehi Kulkarni from Nagpur excelled in her Kuchipudi natya. The core theme of Kuchipudi natya repertoire, Lekha Prasanga, enchanted the rasikas. The exposition involving once a thoughtless, proud and over assertive Sathyabhama, her sakhi Madhavi and Krishna established an intimate rapport. The unbearable pangs of separation bother her at each and every moment. She confides to her Sakhi about her pathetic state of being. She writes a letter to Krishna recollecting the joyous moments she spent with her lord. But in his long absence, everything has become insipid. The shringara of Sathyabhama turns into raudra. At any cost she wants him back at her place. She tells her Sakhi to go to him and if necessary rudely ask him to return. Vaidehi's abhinaya was almost perfect with vachikaabhinaya intact. The typical Kuchipudi natya nritta was imbued with neat lines and racy rhythm. Alamelumanga's shringara and the union of the divine couple Sri Venkatesha and Padmavathi was impressively picturized by the dancer on the basis of an Annamayya keerthana "Paluku tenela talli" (Abheri).
Holding of dance festivals and dance performances by young and enthusiastic dancers are always a good omen for not only the continuation of traditions and generations of classical dance but also for the incessant growth of the art field. Seasoned actress and Bharatanatyam artiste Dr. Seetha Kote needs to be complimented for hosting a two day annual dance festival under the banner of her institution Dheemahi. On the second day of this year's festival entitled Ananya Chinthana (not another thought) held at Seva Sadan, Bangalore, petite and experienced dancer M. Ananya stole the show with her performance. In her theme based presentation, Andal and Meera Bai's devotion to Lord Krishna was neatly highlighted. The madhurya bhakti, another form of shringara rasa, in which the devotee dedicates herself as wife to the Lord, was evoked in its best possible manner and extent. Supported by a live orchestra comprising her mother/Guru Brinda (nattuvangam), Raghuram (vocal), Srihari Rangaswamy (mridangam) and Vivek Krishna (flute), Ananya's graceful figure and delicate movements made each pose, every attitude both a glorious picture and a statement in the development of the theme. Andal varnam (Andal as nayika, ragamalika) and a Meera bhajan (Pyare darshan de jo) of Meera pleading with Krishna to extinguish her anguish, provided Ananya the necessary stuff to interpret her theme.
Mithun Shyam and Seetha Kote
The glory of bhakthi and shringara is inexplicable. The king of all rasas, that is shringara (rasa raja shringara), is manifest in all the states of mind. When shringara is in terms of the Lord and devotee it becomes madhurya. Expert singer Karthik Hebbar has conceptualized an interesting combination of both bhakthi and shringara. It was based on Navavidha Bhakthi - nine types of devotion to the Lord. For this, he drew excerpts from various compositions, including Haridasa and Thyagaraja. Dr. Seetha Kote and another proficient exponent of Bharatanatyam, Mithun Shyam came together in putting life into the concept. Blessed with eloquent eyes, Seetha could communicate varied feelings with ease. She was good in negotiating the rhythmic complexities too. Mithun Shyam exemplified the vigour and grandeur of male dancing. His anga shuddhi, vigorous movements and chaste abhinaya was a class apart. The rendition of theme was not just sketches but became intense and complete artistic interpretations.
The presentation began with a salutation to Lord Krishna. The nine types of bhakthi - shranavam (listening), keerthanam (chanting), smaranam (remembering), Paada sevanam (serving the god willingly), archanam (worshipping god), vandanam (offering obeisance to god), daasyam (serving the God as servant), sakhyam (developing friendship with god) and aatma nivedanam (surrendering to god) were visualized by Seetha and Mithun through compositions like Kathaa shravana maado, Kelarene sakhi, Hariguna gaavath naachungi, Thyagaja's pancharathna krithi Kanakanaruchira, Sri Rama paadama, Vandanamu etc. Both Seetha and Mithun's saatwika abhinaya was the winning element.
Dr. M. Surya Prasad is a tri-lingual music and dance critic of Karnataka, scholar, organizer, educationist, researcher and translator.