Sai Nrutyotsava 9: A festival that's going national 
- Mysore B Nagaraj, Bangalore  

February 12, 2010 

What started as a monthly dance festival, providing platforms for the dancers from Karnataka state, Sai Arts International's Sai Nrutyotsava has in a short period of nine months acquired the color of national festival with international touch to it. One of the factors that determine the character is the participating artiste’s home base. Series nine, on 1st February 2010, at Seva Sadan, Bangalore, witnessed in its five segments, three artists from the state, one from New Delhi and one from Washington, DC, USA. 

Dr. Saraswathi Rajateesh who runs Natyasaraswathi Kuchipudi Dance Center at Bangalore, presented Sowmyashree and Acharya Siddalingappa Swamy in the opening segment of the festival, in Kuchipudi. While Sowmyashree invoked Ganesha to Hamsadhwani raga, Acharya did his version of poorvaranga and they together performed a portion of "Parijatapaharanam" of sage Siddendra Yogi. The episode of Sathyabhama sending message to Krishna through Madhavi was enacted.  

Acharya Siddalingappa and Sowmyashree
Deepa Shivananda
Deepa Shivananda, Bharatanatyam exponent based and trained in Delhi, offered obeisance to Ganesha in raga Gowla set to adi tala. Deepa chose to perform next, Goswamy Tulsidas bhajan "Thumak Chalat Ramachandra." Her unhurried pace and confident execution set a good mood for the evening. The kavya "Prathama samagamalajjitaya" of Jayadeva, from his work Geeta Govinda, was performed with restrain and elegance. Krishna disrobing Radha and planting kisses on her cheek while he lay on her breasts, was enacted with such subtlety that the erotic transcended into divine love. With controlled movements and measured breath, she established that Bharatanatyam to her is not just geometrical exercise but truly a medium of spiritual expression and experience. She truly is poetry in motion. 

Within forty five minutes, Dr. Janaki Rangarajan from Washington DC, encapsulated the Bharatanatyam margam with such pace and vibrancy that the moments sped away leaving the audience seeking more of the ecstasy of watching her dance. The prose taken from  Arunagirinathar's Tiruppugazh in praise of Lord Subrahmanya was the base for her  Alarippu in Sankeerna Jaathi tala set to raga Malayamarutha. The Jathiswaram  composition of the Tanjore Quartet in Ragamalika and misra chapu tala was her next presentation followed by Oothukaadu Venkatasubbaiyer’s keerthana "Thaaye Yasodha" in raga Todi and adi tala. Before concluding with a Thillana in raga Gambheera Nattai set to adi tala, a composition of Oothukaadu Venkatasubbaiyer, Janaki performed Vaitheeswarankoil Subburama Iyer’s Padam "Idhai Vida" in raga Saveri, roopaka tala. Janaki’s dance was like the pleasant running brook whose movements meandered amidst the rocks of rhythm making the spectators sitting on its bank, savor the flowing energy within placidity. To sum it up, Janaki’s performance was a show stealer like that of her mentor and guru, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam.  

Janaki Rangarajan
Sowmya Shantha Kumar
Sowmya Shantha Kumar made the smart choice of presenting a Varnam in  Bharatanatyam.  Sowmya’s seamless segment of 25 minutes was the beautiful result of guru Nirupama Rajendra’s training. The dancer fully justified the concept of Varnam, in perfectly blending, in equal measures, both nrutta and nrutya in graduated tempo. The emotional content of the lyrics matched well with the buoyancy of the technical dancing. The chari and karna that was interspersed was a delight to watch, just for the reason that it was fleeting than dwelling, making the execution seem effortless. The Varnam that was delineated was "Swami naan undan adimaiyendrum ulagamellam ariyume."  
Kavyashree (sitting) & Divya Chandran (standing)
The evening concluded with Kavyashree and Divya Chandran, disciples of Suparna Venkatesh, performing Bharatanatyam. Sandwiched between perfunctionary Pushpanjali and Mangalam was Chinnayya Pillai’s Telugu Javali "Muttavaddura" in raga Saveri, tala adi performed by Kavyashree and  Subbaramiah‘s Tamil Padam "Adhuvum solluvaal" performed by Divya Chandran. Both the dancers succeeded in translating the lyrics into expression and drew audience attention. 
Mysore B Nagaraj is the Artistic Director of Articulate, that promotes performing arts and takes social responsibility of the visually challenged.