Scintillating stimulation to the senses  
- Anupama Mankal 

September 20, 2006 

September 9, 2006 is a memorable day in the annals of Indian classical dance in Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis. Dance and music enthusiasts embarked on a soul-stirring and spiritual journey with a solo performance by Bharatanatyam luminary, Prof. C V Chandrasekhar, accompanied on nattuvangam by his life partner Jaya Chandrasekhar. At the ripe 'young' age of seventy-one, the one hundred-minute recital enthralled and mesmerized not only the connoisseurs of classical dance but also the young aspirants who were present to witness and gather inspiration from such a rare event. In her introduction, Vani Iswara, artistic director of Ellora Center for Performing Arts, said that the creator Brahma was in the best of his spirits when giving the ingredients of dance and music to Prof. C V Chandrasekhar.  

The evening also saw the inauguration of Natyaveda by Chandrasekhar and Jaya Chandrasekhar. Natyaveda is a non-profit organization that endeavors to showcase Indian classical dance at the highest level. Guru Chandrasekhar’s performance is an excellent example of this. Inaugurating the organization, he recited Shlokas from Natyasastra that described how Brahma created the Natyaveda as an essence of the four Vedas, which therefore could aptly be called the Fifth Veda. Chandrasekhar presented a plaque to Vani Iswara, founder director of Natyaveda, to mark the auspicious occasion. Natyaveda brought the day's performance together, in association with Ellora Center of Performing Arts, a premier center for Indian classical dance in the Dallas Fort Worth area. 

The presentation opened with traditional Pushpanjali, a Shlokam from Abhinaya Darpanam, followed by Alarippu in Tisra usi (off beat). Pushpanjali was unique with the Sollukattu from Natyasastra. Sri Ganapatini, a very popular Thyagaraja Kriti in Sourashtra was next. The traditional Varnam Chalamela in Natakuranji captivated the audience with the complex Jatis that were made to look easy by the legendary dancer.  

The audience was led on an enchanting journey of Draupadi Vastrapaharanam in the last part of the Sahitya. Chandrasekhar introduced the different items himself and explained the significance of the Keertanam that followed. Keertanam on Lord Kapaliswara composed by Papanasam Sivan had beautiful expressions and with what seemed like utmost effortlessness, Chandrasekhar transformed the stage into the Kapaliswara temple. In the Ashtapadi, Nindati Chandana, he expressively captured the sakhi's descriptions of Radha's pain on her separation from Lord Krishna.  

The program also included a Bhajan Mayya Mori, a composition of Surdas set to Ragamalika, rendered by Minakshi Muralidhar. It was a dream come true for Chandrasekhar and the vocalist who is his aunt, to perform together on stage. He transformed himself into the mischievous little Krishna while performing this extempore piece.  

The concluding Thillana in Natta Bhairavi was in praise of Rukmini Devi Arundale for her contribution to the field of Bharatanatyam in which the maestro awestruck the audience with his swift and graceful movements.  

Orchestra comprising of nattuvangam by Jaya Chandrasekhar, vocal by Venkatraman Subramaniam and Minakshi Muralidhar, violin by Narasimha Kikkeri and mridangam by Ramesh Babu added more color to the already vibrant program.  

The evening was an experience that each and everyone in the audience admired, cherished and acclaimed. It left everyone feeling grateful for having the opportunity to see a genius at work.