Payal Mistry's Manch Pravesh  
- Annapurna Saripella, Dallas 

March 7, 2006 

Payal Mistry, a student of well-known classical dancer Meenakshi Seshadri Mysore, performed her Odissi Manch Pravesh on February 4, 2006 at the Lone Star Auditorium in Arlington, Texas. About 400 people attended this event and Payal enthralled the audience with her performance. It was an evening that blended rhythm and movement of Odissi dance with moments of personal pride and joy, for both the disciple and her guru. It was a first of its kind in the Dallas Metroplex area. 

Payal's rendition of the technical aspects of the dance showed her dedication and rigorous practice in the item on the Jagannath Ratha Yatra depicting the elements of the procession namely the elephants, the horses, the chariot, the dancers and the trio of Lord Jagannath, his sister Subhadra and his brother Balabhadra.  Her performance was full of energy as she brought out the festive mood of the Ratha Yatra. Her representation of each of the Ratha Yatra elements was vivid. She danced in perfect rhythm to the vocals and the timing of the breaks and pauses was just right. Incidentally, the English word 'juggernaut' was derived from 'Jagannath' and means: a heavy truck or an inexorable or massive force. 

Payal's abhinaya rendition was one of quiet confidence and unhurried footwork. Be it Jayadeva's Ashtapadi or the episode from Ramayana or the Moksha dance, Payal displayed great levels of maturity in her expressions. The eloquence of her eyes and the soft, swaying movements of her body spoke volumes of her talent. 

The evergreen love theme of Krishna and Radha was the first piece in Jayadeva's Ashtapadi and Payal's subtle expressions brought out the playfulness of the lovers. Her depiction of Krishna's amorous behavior towards Radha had the right amount of sensuousness.  

Draupadi Vastraharana was the highlight of the show as she depicted five characters (Sakuni, Yudhishtra, Dusshasana, Draupadi and Krishna) switching from one character to the other with utmost ease. The part where she played Draupadi calling to Krishna to save her from the humiliation was very stirring and touched the emotions of many in the audience. 

The last piece, Moksha was a dance of abandon and joy. Payal showed great strength and command over her movements as she danced, truly surrendering herself to the divinity of the dance form. Her energy and enthusiasm remained undiminished as she concluded her performance to a standing ovation.  

The items were crisp and precise in their presentation without being too long. The live orchestra comprising of pakhawaj, violin and flute along with two vocalists lent the performance a great deal of charm. The vocalists sang with involvement and devotion enhancing the appeal of the performance. Payal's guru Meenakshi Seshadri Mysore was one of the vocalists. 

Creativity was present in every aspect of the rendition. The dance compositions, the music, the stage décor and the general ambience of the evening molded themselves well to make it a memorable performance.  

Payal is a talented artiste with a wonderful stage presence coupled with beauty and elegance. Her passion for dance was evident in her three-hour performance where she was able to make the audience feel one with her. With dedication and perseverance she is sure to reach great heights in her chosen field of dance - Odissi. 
Annapurna Saripella is a resident of Dallas and an ardent admirer of Indian classical dance and music. This is her first freelance dance review.