Abhyudaya Utsav: A classical dance festival

“Nrithyashala,” a Bharatanatyam institution, was founded by Guru Subbulakshmi Rana, a Bharatanatyam teacher. She graduated from Kalakshetra and is now working on a doctorate in dance. She has taken on the responsibility of planning an annual event that will include a stellar roster of mostly solo performers in Begumpet. It is commendable to have Hyderabadi dancers as well as those from other places as guests. On Sunday, the third “Abhyudaya Utsav” was a huge success.

The young children who made up the Nrityashala ensemble performed an alarippu and then a pushpanjali. The first few pieces were finished in Arabhi by a jatiswaram, after which came the major varnam. This was the well-known centerpiece, “Manavi,” performed by the Tanjore Quartet in Shankarabharanam in the Kalakshetra interpretation. It was skillfully performed by these youthful artists and by generations of dancers. The intricate jathis punctuated the demonstration of flawless expertise. As the Lord of the Nayika, Lord Brihadeeswara, who resides in the holy town of Tanjore, is urged to have mercy. He is urged to listen to the fervent prayers that remember his beauty and royal grandeur and to let go of his apathy. The Lord, who is immeasurable, has had his heart wounded by Cupid’s five arrows.

Then came Dr. Sathya Nemani on the platform. It’s not common to see the traditional Chokkessar kauthvam in Ganaragamalika. Shiva is worshipped as Chokkanatha of Madurai, the one who wears the skins of tigers and elephants, the one who destroyed the Tripuras in their aerial cities, and the one who personally came to help stop floods. There were also a few dramatic tales that portrayed Saiva Saint-related incidents. The Bharatanatyam dancer’s teermanams and adavus were expertly performed in the complex nritta patterns, showcasing her exquisite internalization of the great work. In this composition, which takes a lot of endurance to portray, her grasp was amazing.

The endearing “Madu Meykkum Kanne,” a conversation between little Krishna and his mother Yashoda, came next. In her performance, Sathya excelled as she took turns portraying Yashoda, who wants her little darling to remain at home and get sweets instead of going out. Krishna answers that she shouldn’t worry since he would rather herd the cows and return shortly. The mother fears that her kid may be in danger from thieves and wild animals, but she is reassured once again that he is capable of handling any problems that may come. With well-executed abhinaya expressions, she portrayed both a strong and aggressive Krishna and a troubled, maternal Yashoda, captivating the audience’s attention. Khamas Thillana wrapped up her performance.

Dr. Mythili Anoop is a skilled Mohiniyattam dancer in addition to a scholar with a long list of publications to her name. Three pieces showcased the very subtle art style from Kerala with amazing grace and beauty. Ganga Tatvam honors and creates the pinnacle of the revered river. The story of the miraculous Akshayapatra being empty because her body cannot function after eating is told in Duryodhana Vadham’s Draupadi’s padam. Krishna intervenes and finds a single grain of rice, which she eats to satisfy her hunger and appease Sage Durvasa and his disciples, who have come at this inconvenient time to test her. She also reminds us that her humiliation must be avenged before any compromise is sought for showing off her disheveled hair and hamir kalyani thillana. Her hands’ perfectly timed, riverine motions in a masterfully crafted hasthabhinaya created the illusion of the holy river’s tumbling rivulets and gushing gush. The senior artist delivered an exceptional performance, as predicted, showcasing both the poignantly exquisite abhinaya and mood when she portrayed Draupadi, as well as the more lyrical, fluidly flowing nritta dances contained in the thillana. The audience was able to enjoy the comparably staccato crystalline shine of Bharatanatyam as well as the soft, languorous beauty of Mohiniyattam thanks to the interval of another traditional dance form.

The last segment of the show was delivered by solo Bharatanatyam performer K. P. Rakesh. He began with a well-done kouthvam on Lord Muruga, which portrayed the older son of Lord Shiva. The nine emotions of the goddess were shown in the Varnam centerpiece, from her expression of love or shringara, upon meeting her consort on Mount Kailasa to her exhibition of valor as Meenakshi. It was thrilling with the quick energy portrayed catching the audience, and it was brilliantly episodic in the story section and well expressed in the pure dancing sections. Smt. Bragha Bessel’s masterwork of choreography, the Ashtapadi, beautifully captured Krishna’s longing for Radha. Her lotus feet, always adorned with anklets, are rested on soft leaves to soothe him after a hard day’s work; her lovely face, like the moon, and her nectar-sweet conversation ignited Krishna’s body with the fire of love. Rakesh brought out all the shades of rasa that were present here with such perfect ease that he ended in applause.

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