dance drama a most colorful presentation
– as part of Janmashtami celebration in New York
by Carolyn Boren
Saturday evening, August 23rd at Ananda Ashram's Blue Sky Center in Monroe,
the students of renowned Kathak artist and guru Pt. Satya Narayana Charka
presented a marvelous display of dance technique and expression in the
East West School of Dance's annual Krishna Leela dance-drama. Graduates
Mayura Casuba and Romanee Kalicharran dazzled an appreciative audience
as they brought Sri Krishna and Sri Radha to life on the stage. Other young
students and dance artists demonstrated the skilled dance and sensitive
expression (earmarks of their teacher's training), as they brought alive
the stories of child Krishna, Yashoda and Lord Krishna's beloved Gopikas
and friends in the dance-drama choreographed and directed by Pt. Charka.
Special guests that graced the occasion included Dr. & Mrs. Ram Karan
Sharma, Shri Om Prakash Tiwari, Dr. and Mrs. Rohit Patel, Mr. Muzaffer
Habib, Mr. P.T. Thomas, and Dr. and Mrs. Rakesh Bharadwaj.
The dance drama commenced with an Invocation to Lord Krishna, followed by a scene depicting Krishna as a baby, defeating the evil demoness Putana (Anya Golovkova). The audience next delighted in the popular episodes of Maakhan Chori (Krishna's mischievous childhood act by Priya Bharadwaj) and Kaliya Mardan - the defeat of angry serpent king Kaliya Naag (Danny Quilter) by Lord Krishna jumping onto his hood and performing the Kaliya Mardan Nritya.
The Holi with
the original choreography by Guru Maya Rao - full of colors and festivity
as Krishna, Radha and the Gopis played - was well-received and greatly
brought out a joyous mood of Holi, setting the stage for solo and group
dances by the Gopis, including classical Kathak abhinaya compositions.
The dance drama culminated with the Maha Raas, Lord Krishna as the Paramatma dancing with each one of the Gopis or jivas. It was Pt. Birju Maharaj's recent composition "Raas Rachita Braj Mein" that brought a great show of appreciation.
All in all, the performers and the audience alike brought out a wonderful energy that made the Krishna Leela dance-drama a great success for this summer season in New York.