Sai Nrutyotsava 11 
- Mysore Nagaraj, Bangalore 

April 10, 2010 

April first was no fools day. In fact, Sai Nrutyotsava-11 heralded the arrival of spring, as the world celebrates the riot of colors and freshness of the fruits of nature. Amidst the green canopy, blooming flowers on the trees, Seva Sadan in Malleshwaram, Bangalore, witnessed young dancers celebrate through dance and music, an evening of Bharatanatyam and Kathak. 

A devotional performance: 

Under the guidance of Dr.Sarada, President, Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning, Bangalore, their performing unit consisting of Srinivasan R, Ujwal J, Deepa CR and Revathy Shankar, commenced with an obeisance to Ganesha in raga Natai and Adi tala and proceeded to an Alaaripu in Mishra jathi before concluding with the feature "Siva Ramana." The silver line that connected the three dance numbers in Bharatanatyam was seeing Ramana, the Maharishi of Thiruvannamalai, as Ganesha through the Sanskrit shloka "Shuklambharadharam…" as a divine entity bestowing peace and finally as Dakshinamurthy, bestower of knowledge to the seeker of truth. 

Little dancing angels: 

Guru Satish Babu of Natyeshwara Nruthya Shala, Bangalore, presented his 8 disciples Anusha V Udupa, Vaishanavi HR, Sonia K, Vishaka S, Madhushree S, Amudha S, Harini K and Anu in a crisp and neat Bharatanatyam recital. Without a moment wasted, a very junior group of five little angels and three juniors performed 6 dance numbers, neatly fitted in a 30 minutes slot. The clarity of movement, understanding the rhythm and being in step by these dancers was a delight to watch. Their chosen repertoire was a pushpanjali in Ragamalika, Ananda Naratana Ganapathy, a Chaturashra Alarippu, "Bho shambo" in raga Revathi, a Kannada composition "Yadavaraya" in Ragamalika and finally the padam, "Indendu Vacchi Tivira" in Surati raga and all of them set to Adi tala. 

A mature presentation: 

Kiran Rajagopalan, a magna cum laude from Boston University with a BA in Behavioral Neuroscience has balanced his profession and passion with élan. Currently a senior disciple of A Lakshman in Chennai, Kiran presented a pushpanjali in Ghambira Nata, a Muthuswamy Pillai composition on Ganesha, "Chitike vesithe" set in Kalyani raga, a male perspective padam by Sarangapani and a Tillana in Kadanakuthoohalam composed by Dr. M Balamuralikrishna. Without much strain in his first and third number and with much restrain in his padam, Kiran took the audience on a smooth and aesthetic ride. 

A lively act: 

Keerthana Ravi, trained by veteran Guru Padmini Ramachandran of Natyapriya, Bangalore, gave a brisk Bharatanatyam recital and wove the well known keerthanam of Gopalakrishna Bharatiyar "Natanam Aadinaar," a varnam "Nee inda maaya saida nyayama" of Papanasam Sivan and a padam "Adhuvum solluvaal" into her fabric of dance. The delight of seeing the cosmic dancer in Chidambaram, the plea of a bhakta seeking a glance of the lord, the jealousy a woman feels when her lover showers more attention on another woman, was expressed with elegance. 

Proving the belief that Kathak is bereft of abhinaya: 

Natya Stem Dance Kampni members Ramya Nagaraj, Ponnamma Devaiah, Janardhan Raj Urs, Keerthi Kumar and Vineeth Kumar Nigam presented three dance numbers. A composition of Ibrahim Adil Shah II where he feels the divine presence of Ganesh and Saraswathi in nature around him, was the opening number. Kannada poet Da Ra Bendre's well known poem 'Nalku Tanti" describing the relationship between Man and Nature was the second to be presented. A Tarana in Raag Jhinjoti was the concluding item. The first two dance numbers were performed by the performers flamboyantly sans any emotion. The lyrics of two of the greatest poets of the Deccan, though separated by centuries, are impregnated with beautiful meaning. For very emotive music, the lyrics have been well adapted by Guru Dr. Maya Rao, but the dancers seem to emphasise more on popular technical nuances, making satwika bhava a casualty, proving the popular assumption that Kathak is bereft of abhinaya. 

Mysore B Nagaraj is the Artistic Director of Articulate, that promotes performing arts and takes social responsibility of the visually challenged.