Nritya Dhaare 5 
- Probal Gupta, Bangalore 

June 24, 2009 

The Nritya Dhaare dance festival took place in Bangalore on June 6 and 7, 2009. The second day of Nritya Dhaare 5 organised by Ananya under the leadership of Dr. Raghavendra, had a grand opening with a Mohiniattam recital by Vinaya Manoj, one of the senior disciples of Bharati Shivaji. Having witnessed the items several times being performed by Bharati Shivaji, an aficionado for Mohiniattam can easily appreciate the nuances of the art and when performed by her disciple can easily comprehend and evaluate how well the dancer has adapted the perfection of the genre taught by her guru. When a disciple executes a performance not only is the fortune of his/her dance career involved, also the proficiency and the legacy of his/her Guru's career and hardships are implicated.  

Vinaya has learned the nuances of Mohiniattam from her guru dexterously and that was well revealed from all the items that she accomplished with grace. Dainty and petite in its nature, Mohiniattam requires a lot of control over the body and especially on the torso as the circular, semicircular and the lateral circular gestures can well be implemented once the dancer imbibes its basic prerequisites with allegiance.  

Vinaya performed three items choreographed by Bharati Shivaji. Commencing with a Ganapati Stuti in Raag Arabhi set to Chempada Tala (Adi), with astounding vocal support by Sadanam Rajagopalan reverberating in the Seva Sadan Auditorium, Vinaya moved on to Mukhachalam in Raag Surutti and Chempada Tala (Adi) - a pure dance number which was initially performed in Kathakali and is taken over by Mohiniattam - a characteristic piece de resistance exhibiting the various adavus of the dance form being juxtaposed in an aesthetic manner.  

The dancer concluded with an Ashtapadi from Jayadeva's Geeta Govindam. It is mandatory for me to mention that Astapadi has been introduced as a repertory in Mohiniattam by Bharati Shivaji. "Lalitha Labangalata" speaks about Radha being tormented in separation from her Lord - The Supreme Krishna. The sakhis plead with Radha to forget her pain by envisaging the aesthetic beauty of nature with the advent of spring. Set to Ragamalika and Taal Chempada, the abhinaya piece spoke of Vinaya's control over the abhinaya aspect of Mohiniattam.  

The second performance of the evening was a Kathak recital by Arpita Banerjee. Initially trained under Guru Bandana Sen, one of the senior dance gurus in the Kathak idiom based in Kolkata, Arpita is presently continuing her training under Nandini Mehta and Murli Mohan. Inaugurating her recital with a Shiva Stuti set to Raag Purvadhanashree and Ek Taal, Arpita moved on to exhibit the traditional items of Kathak. In Teen Taal, she demonstrated the Thaat, Aamad, Paran and Tukras with ease. The assiduous training in her dance form was evident. Following an item set to embellish the Holi season, Arpita concluded her recital with a Tarana set to Raag Kalavati and Teen Taal. Usage of good recorded music aggrandized the overall effect of the Kathak performance. Maintaining a good time space in between the demonstration of the talas over the microphone and simultaneously executing them through dance movement and elegant footwork requires lot of dedicated practice. Arpita's performance spoke of perseverance and true allegiance towards the dance form that she specializes in.  

The evening concluded with a Bharatanatyam recital by Ajay Vishwanath, one of the senior disciples of Guru Lalitha Srinivasan, one of the senior most gurus of the State. Beginning with a self composed Varnam and moving on to two aesthetically beautiful choreographies of Lalitha Srinivasan, Ajay tried to do justice to Sri Tulsidas's composition "Sri Rama Chandra Kripalu Bhajamana" set to Pantuvarali Ragam and Mishrachapu Talam and concluded with a Kapi Thillana specially choreographed by Lalitha Srinivasan for her Nritta Nritya festival. Sung marvelously by Late HK Narayana, both the items vouch for Guru Lalitha Srinivasan's excellent artistry in choreography. 

Probal Gupta trained in Kathakali under two legends Late Kalamandalam Govindan Kutty and Guru Fact Padmanabhan under whom he is presently continuing his specialization in Stree Vesham genre of Kathakali. He has also been a student of Bharati Shivaji. His active performance career has taken him to prestigious dance festivals. He is an empanelled artist of Doordarshan and has established a Solo Margam for Stree Vesham Kathakali under the able guidance of his Guru Fact Padmanabhan. Probal is a graduate in English Hons from the University of Kolkata.