Bharath Nrityotsav: An ode to Indian classical dance forms
- Velcheti Subrahmanyam, Visakhapatnam

December 27, 2010

A two-day Bharath Nrithyotsav featuring foreign and NRI artistes showcased varied charms of different Indian classical dance forms on 22 and 23 December at Kalabharati in Visakhapatnam. Though nrityotsavams are not new to the city, what distinguished it was the participation of foreign and NRI artistes on an enthusiastic note. Courtesy: Nataraj Music and Dance Academy (NMDA). Into its 10th year, the academy made its mark as an institution to reckon with in the realm of classical dances in the city. In its endeavor to present varied dance forms on one stage, the academy successfully chartered foreign and NRI artistes who are in India in connection with various programs in different places. Result! Vizagites were treated to a colourful fare.

In all, six foreign and three NRI artistes staged Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kathak and Manipuri with verve. Though they danced only two or three pieces in the given slot of just half an hour each, they succeeded in bringing out the quintessential richness of Indian classical dances in all its splendour. That the charms of Indian classical dances laden with its spiritual import defy the barriers of time and space is evident in every frame of the fete. It is heartening to watch foreigners performing our classical dances with the flourish of maestros, which testifies to their single-minded pursuit of it.

Chloe Romero
Malavika Venkatasubbaiah
Mangala Muddali
Haridev Ray
The fete opened with Kuchipudi dance by Germany based Rajyashree Ramesh, who danced an invocatory and Pravesa daruvu from Bhamakalapam, the star piece of Kuchipudi repertoire with verve. While Canada based Malavika Venkatasubbaiah presented an ashtapadi and a composition of Annamayya in the gestural vocabulary of Bharatanatyam with aplomb, US based Mangala Muddali staged Govardhana Giridhari, a tarangam of sage Narayanatheertha and Anandatandavam in Kuchipudi style well. The highlight of the inaugural session was Odissi by French danseuse Chloe Romero who stole the show through her scintillating performance. With fair grasp of intricate aspects of Odissi, she was at her best all through.

On the second day, Haridev Ray presented a spirited Kathak performance, which included an invocatory and a composition of Surdas. The choreography laden with intricate rhythms and techniques wove a fabric of complex designs in dance movements, while Warda Rihab from Bangladesh and PM Ruvini Silva from Srilanka presented Manipuri items in different time slots with gusto. Their performances brought out the grace and charms of Manipuri well. Russian danseuse Irina Komissarova from Moscow staged Odissi on a brilliant note.

The well conducted fete with fairly rich invitation and brochure surely turned into a feather in the cap of the organizers. Had they decorated the stage befitting the event rather than the bare one, it would have lent a colorful setting to these multihued sessions enriching its aesthetics. The performances were so lively that the absence of live orchestra could not tell upon its overall fairly good appeal.

Velcheti Subrahmanyam has been with the New Indian Express for over twenty years contributing reviews and articles on the cultural front.