January 2001 

Ellora Center For Performing Arts in Vadodara is celebrating its silver Jubilee year. ECPA was established by Smt Rema Srikanth in 1976 in Vadodara. Rema is a solo dancer, choreographer and a teacher. Besides having traditional training in dance from her father,Guru Krishna Panicker and from other veteran Gurus in the field of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam and Kuchipudi, she has done her post graduation in dance with specialization in Bharatanatyam. She has performed extensively in India and abroad. She has trained a number of students in different styles of Indian classical dances. 

2001 will be a year of celebration for ECPA. ECPA is going to stage solo dances, group dances, dance dramas, lecture-demonstrations in the coming months. ECPA's inaugural function and 25th annual dance programme was held on 21st Jan 2001 at Gandhinagar Gruh, Vadodara. 

All the students of ECPA participated in the programme, which started with Pushpanjali and Allaripu in Nattai and Khanda Eka talam. It had nothing new except for the self-conscious young children. Rema showed her individuality - she has changed aramandi adavus into sama pada (dhi dhi tai.......dhu dhu tai...) which was an unnecessary change! 

Tulasi Puja was performed by enthusiastic mothers who used to be Rema's students. It was performed, set to a Hindi Bhajan. Jathiswaram in Kalyani Ragam and Rupak Talam was performed by 32 students and the stage looked very crowded even though they came in two separate groups. 

"Dipavali" was performed by junior students. They kept Diyas in both their hands and did the adavus which would have looked better without the Diyas but the parents were thrilled to see their children doing something "different"!  "Shabdam" in Ragamalika was staged like a dance drama with some difficult movements, jathis were very different with very fast movements, it was like to fit in seven different 
movements where actually only five movements would have looked beautiful, so instead of enjoying the beautiful Shabdam, the students were trying hard to keep balance in the fast movements. 

 "Phoolwari" was performed by little children with lots of enthusiasm and happiness. They enjoyed themselves on the stage. "Krishnageetham" in Ragamalika and Khanda Ekatalam was nicely choreographed by Rema but the presentation was very poor by her students.  "Rasa Rang" ( Pinnal kolattam) was very colourful and created the atmosphere of joy and happiness. Surprisingly it was set to a Hindi song. 

The programme ended with Varnam and Mangalam in Ragam Anandbhairavi and Adi talam.  That again had very difficult movements; every jathi had very unusual thirmanams... Music and vocal were pleasant to listen to, except the Hindi songs and bhajans which were sung in a Carnatic style! 

 I think the audience should feel like joining in instead of feeling "Oh,  god! Itís so difficult..." and the performer should enjoy it without being worried about the next movements. 

Sapna Rangaswamy, Baroda