Day two of Arudra Festival  
- P Sivakumar & Lakshmi Sivakumar, Pune 
Photos: Lakshmi Sivakumar 

November 19, 2006  

When I entered Subhash Bhavan, Bangalore on Oct 29th, for the second day of the Tenth Arudhra Festival, I noticed it was rather small.  
'Omkara Shakti Swarupa' was the first presentation for the evening by Bharatanatyam dancer Shobana Balachandra and her disciples from Chennai. Starting with the group item 'Ganesh Kautuvam' seeking the blessings of the almighty, Pavithra Ramesh, the child prodigy presented a wonderful little solo piece.  

Shobana performed a Varnam based on lord Murugan. Neat nritya, angashuddhi, grace and use of the stage space was striking, showing the great strides this artist has been making with each of her performances. 'Shakti' was a neat presentation by Shobana's disciples. 

In the Padam, Shobana Balachandra put across another meticulously performed item.  
'Kavadi' dance was performed with a lot of enthusiasm. The energetic Tillana was presented by four artists from the troupe, marked by beautiful synchronization at high speed rhythms. 

The high quality of the performance by Shobana Balachandra and her troupe was proof of the dedication and hard work that has gone into the presentation. Anita Venkatesh, Poornima Nair, Pramila Ramesh, Kritika Shurajit were the young disciples who surely made their guru proud with their performance. 
The second part of the evening showcased 'Bhakti Nritya Taranga' in Kathak style by a trio of well known artists of Karnataka - Srihari, Chetana and Tushar Bhat. If the stage was filled earlier with splendid images of Bharatanatyam, Kathak made sure that the way ahead for this evening would be to a higher plane only. 

Srihari and Chetana presented a duet with brisk footwork and chakars. Tushar presented a solo sloka based on Lord Shiva, brilliantly choreographed by the maestro of Kathak, guru Maya Rao. The trio wound up with Tarana. The stage was very well utilized with beautiful formations, movements and Chakars. Applause for the trio filled the auditorium and was well deserved.  

Srihari and Tushar Bhat are graduates from Karnataka's well known academy, Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography, Bangalore. Srihari and Chetana are currently gaining proficiency under guru Kumudini Lakhia. May their journey of dance go on and on, and give lot of happiness and recognition to them.  

Organizing an event of the magnitude of Arudhra is in itself an immense task, but there are certain things that organizers as well as rasikas need to pay attention to, to do away with unwanted blemishes. The lights were set when the audience was in full attendance, and the same applied to the sound check too. A good number of audience members for the evening comprised of senior citizens, but basic amenities like access to a wash room was absent. I was told there was only one for which one had to go through the stage! And considering the distance one has to travel in Bangalore to get to a destination, this is definitely a hardship for anyone! Having the experience of organizing the earlier nine annual festivals, should not the organizer pay attention to these details too? 

As rasikas, we need to realize that mobiles ringing and silent messaging are distracting and rude when a performance is going on and the artists on stage are giving it their all. 

Lakshmi Sivakumar is a Bharatanatyam dancer based in Pune. Her husband P Sivakumar has a passion for the arts and is a freelance writer. He is a collector of dance related news clippings.