Tribute to legendary Rukmini Devi Arundale
- Madhumita Raut, Delhi

May 6, 2010

Delhi based organization Abhinaya Aradhana paid a befitting artistic tribute to the legendary Rukmini Devi Arundale in a 2-day music and dance festival at Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi. Rukmini Devi Arundale (1904-1986), founder of Kalakshetra, a centre or fine arts, in Chennai, had devoted her entire life to the revival of Bharatanatyam and re-establishment of many of the arts and crafts of India. Bharatanatyam exponent Jayalakshmi Eshwar, founder of Abhinaya Aradhana says, "I am what I am today, owing to my studies at the Kalakshetra. I was fortunate to have received meticulous and in-depth training under Guru Rukmini Devi Arundale."

The festival, named Rukmini Devi Arundale Music and Dance Festival, began with the Bharatanatyam recital by Anjana Rajan. A product of Kalakshetra, Anjana's delineations were intense and graceful. She rendered beautifully the excerpts from Nachiar Tirumozhi, verses from medieval Tamil literature, in which the saint poet describes her longing for Lord Narayana.

Anjana Rajan
Sumedha Goenka
Richa Jain
Sumedha Goenka (disciple of Madhumita Raut), performed both pure dance as well as abhinaya. She presented the medieval Oriya poetry depicting Bhakti-Shringar rasa of Vaishnavism. This was followed by a charming Mohiniattam recital by Lavanya Devi, disciple of Dr. Deepti Omcherry Bhalla. She presented a Shabda Chaali in Hamsadhwani raga and Adi talam. The Padam composed by Maharaja Swati Thirunal was artistically crafted and presented. The evening ended with a very fine Kathak recital by Richa Jain, daughter and disciple of Nalini and Ravi Jain. The distinctive feature of Richa's dance was that her Kathak was accompanied by her own vocal rendition. It reminded one of the great masters who sang themselves while portraying abhinaya.

The 2nd day began with the temple tradition music Tevaram by S Shankar and Divyaprabandham temple music tradition by SV Vasanthi. The rendition was filled with artistic richness and depth. It was followed by a beautifully choreographed Bharatanatyam recital by Swapna Seshadri, HB Sahana and Oxana Chegueva, disciples of Saroja Vaidyanathan. The festival ended with the Odissi recital by the students of Late Guru Surendra Nath Jena. Their recital, based on temple sculptures, was conducted by Pratibha Jena. The festival was well attended and appreciated by the audiences. It was a very satisfying experience to witness some very competent young dancers in the festival.

Madhumita Raut is the inheritor and proponent of her illustrious father Guru Mayadhar Raut's dance legacy. She lives in Delhi where she manages and teaches at the Mayadhar Raut School of Odissi Dance.