Reflections from Ananya
- Veejay Sai, Bangalore
Photos courtesy: Prithvi Krishna

August 28, 2011

Charles Ma

One of Bangalore’s most active cultural spaces and sabhas is Ananya in good old Malleshwaram. Over the years it has nourished many dancers and musicians and has played an active role in their success stories, thanks to the tireless work done by Mr. RV Raghavendra whose discerning taste for music and dance has helped Ananya host some of the best performances for Bangalore’s music and dance lovers.

In their latest edition of their ‘Nritya Dhare’ series, three dancers performed and presented their art - two Bharatanatyam dancers, Charles Ma (student of Poornima Ashok) from Bangalore and Shilpa Nanjappa (student of Padmini Ramachandran) from Coorg and Mohiniattam by Deepa Chakravarthy from Chennai.

The evening opened with Charles Ma’s presentation. The first item he performed was an invocation to Lord Shiva ‘Mahadeva Shambho’ set to Revati ragam and Adi talam, where the thandava aspect did not really come through. He went further to present his second performance, themed around the love of Radha and Krishna set to a composition by Swati Thirunal. The third item he presented was ‘Samayamu Kaadura,’ a more apt piece for a female dancer, where one needs to understand the sahityam along with the abhinayam. The last piece he presented was a famous daasara pada ‘Tamburi meetida’ by Purandhara Dasa, set to Sindhu Bhairavi raagam. He was distracted with fixing his anklets through the performance. Charles has a great passion for dance. We hope he can present better in his next performances.

The second performance, a Mohiniattam dance by Deepa Chakravarthy came in as a breath of fresh air. Deepa, a student of Gopika Varma from Chennai, managed to pull off an excellent performance in spite of the technical glitches (any artist’s worst nightmare: a sudden power shut down right in the middle of her major item!) during her show.  She started her performance with a ‘Solkattu’ or an invocation composed by Sudev Warrier set to Ragam Hameer Kalyani. Flawless abhinayam marked her dance at every step. Her wide smile, her eyes overflowing with expression suited the brilliant music that played on. Though Gopika Varma herself was an average dancer, her training and grooming showed in her student. The second item she presented was a ‘Thodai Mangalam’ set to Ragam Nattai.  ‘Thodai Mangalam’ was never a part of the traditional Mohiniattam repertoire. Gopika Varma took the effort to introduce it. Using Jatis by Kavalam Narayana Panicker, this piece got some freshness into the performance. The third item she performed was a Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi ‘Lalita lavanga lata’ set to Ragam Hindolam. With soulful singing by Sudev Warrier and the graceful dance by Deepa, this piece was a delight to watch. Most Mohiniattam dancers often over-do their eye expressions and horizontal body movements and make them tediously repetitive and boring. But watching Deepa was an absolute delight. Faultless in rhythm and subtle in her abhinayam, she stood true to her name and outshone others that evening.

Deepa Chakravarthy

Shilpa Nanjappa
The last performance was Bharatanatyam by Shilpa Nanjappa. She opened her performance with ‘Kanchadalayatakshi,’ a Kriti by Muthuswamy Dikshitar in praise of the divine goddess, set to Ragam Kamala Manohari. Now Shilpa has an undoubtedly beautiful smile, a smile which was also her biggest problem. All through the performance she sported that smile and her body movements were rather stiff.

This edition in the series of Nritya Dhare was a mixed experience. A few dull moments and some good ones too. Bangalore’s dance lovers enjoyed yet another wonderful evening, thanks to Ananya and its tireless efforts to performing arts. 

Veejay Sai is a writer, editor and a culture critic.