Dance gala at Sai Nrithyotsava
- Dr. M Surya Prasad

June 7, 2011

It was a sort of record making event. A monthly one day (the first of every month) Sai Nrithyotsava featuring classical dance programs being held at the Seva Sadan, Malleshwaram completed twenty five presentations. This novel Nrithyotsava conceived and presented by a popular lighting and stage designer, photographer and organizer Sai Venkatesh along with his dancer-wife Dr. Suparna Venkatesh has so far provided stage for 125 performances featuring more than five hundred artistes. A commendable contribution to the dance field indeed! It was reassuring to sense a new purposefulness in the program and a willingness on the part of the new dispensation to make this event an occasion for projecting classical dance in all its paramparic hues.

Neat presentation

The twenty fifth program was marked by brilliant and excellent performances by the young and upcoming dancers. Excepting a few occasions, the recorded music support made the dances rewarding ones. Suparna Venkatesh's disciples Shwetha Venkatesh, Shankha, Kavyasri, Nisha and Nishanth showed general discipline and did their Guru proud by neatly presenting the tillana. The coverage of the stage in artistic patterns, variety of jathis with matching adavus were delightful.

Compositional elegance

Veteran exponent of Mohiniattam, Guru Sridevi Unni's greatness as a teacher of high order got exposed when her wards Vinaya, Bindu, Amritha, Deepthi and Revathi took the stage. In the opening Navarasanjali, the dancers exhibited the sheer compositional elegance in the rendition of navarasas (ragamalika). The solo dancer gave a profound account of herself in sketching a sakhi instigating Radha who is sad on the basis of Jayadeva's Chandana charchitha (Yamankalyani) Ashtapadi.

Instant rapport

Seasoned Odissi dancer and Guru Sharmila Mukerjee needs to be applauded for her exceptional choreographic skills. The Odissi idiom was best explored both artistically and technically. Her disciples Prithivi and Maya portrayed the Ashtapadi Shritha kamalakucha mandala, mishra Khamach (but wrongly announced by the anchor) with aplomb. The depiction of the destruction of demons Madhumuranaraka and Ravana, Kaliya Mardana, Lord Vishnu with Garuda as his mount et al established an instant rapport with the rasikas. The enactment of an Oriya pada Malli maala by Upendra Bhanja showing Gopi's love to Krishna was pleasing. The nritta sequences and etching of Devi's different forms in the concluding Moksha spoke high of the dancers.

Kathak technicalities

Shamitha, Kavyasri and Nishanth, trained by dancer MB Nagaraj (who also anchored the program) executed the technicalities of the Kathak dance which were the epitome of exactitude, the rhythmic tones varying with foot contact through the soles, heels and even side of the feet of the dancers. The slight shifting of body weight provided the varying rhythmic cadences. Thus Vishnu Vandana, a composition of Maharaja Bindadin involving Krishna, Shiva Stuti by Tulasidas, Nataraja Stuti etc had scrupulous clarity in the rendition. Vibrant padakriya encompassed a lively Kathak nritta.

Refined abhinaya

In the last segment of the Sai Nrithyotsava series 25, Guru Dharani Kashyap led the Kuchipudi natya show with profundity. Annamacharya krithi accounted for a refined abhinaya. In the Taranga, Dharani danced on the plate with Archana Punyesh dancing with a pot of water on her head. Both of them struck some intricate and rich rhythmic patterns. Later the other students of Dharani also joined in a spellbinding group nritta. The vachikaabhinaya was in tact.