Creative solo performances
- Satish Suri, Bangalore
Photos: Srivatsa

January 19, 2012

By expanding their repertoire, more and more dancers are exploring new dimensions of creativity.
Two such performances were held under the aegis of Ananya at Seva Sadan, Bangalore, on 30 Dec 2011.

Anuradha Venkatraman, a student of Saroja Vaidyanathan, chose to explore the multifaceted character Karna through the grammar and language of Bharatanatyam in a solo recital.  Titled ‘Pratham Parth,’ (the first born of Parth and Kunti) the portrayal of Karna, the anti hero in the Mahabharata, draws inspiration from the epic poem ‘Rashmi Rathi’ by Ramdhaari Singh Dinkar. ‘Rashmi Rathi’ literally means the one who rides the Sun’s chariot.  Anuradha  explored  the tragic circumstances of Karna’s life: born to the unwed Kunthi, abandoned by her and brought up by a low born charioteer and his wife, humiliated because he is stopped from a duel with Arjuna and from learning archery skills from Parasuram because he is of a lower caste. A forlorn Karna is finally befriended by the Kaurava prince Duryodhana, who decides to crown him King of Angad. The great warrior betrayed by god and man alike finally dies lonely in the battlefield.

In a poignant portrayal of the character Karna, Anuradha brought to the fore her virtuosity in essaying the different roles of motherhood, love, friendship, loyalty, valour, the struggle for upholding the principles of dharma and the final sacrifice ending in his death. The black costume embellished with shells added grace and vitality to her presentation. Her abhinaya, forceful and full of life, befitted the role she was enacting. Support by excellent music on a recorded track added strength to the presentation.

Anuradha Venkatraman
Vidhya Subramanian
On  the other hand, Vidhya Subramanian, who is known for creative choreography explored different idioms through her production titled ‘Mudrika - unity of duality,’ starting with an Adi Shankara composition which explores the cardinal principle of  Ardhanareeswara, the half male and half female manifestation of Lord Shiva and the intrinsic duality that coexists. Her next piece was about love and separation, Sringara sambhogham about Radha and her beloved and the romantic interludes. She moved on to delineate the principle of oneness as she danced to a composition of Purandaradasa, ‘Yadavaraya’ where the intense devotion of a devotee to Krishna finally merges with the divine and there is no distinction between the devotee and the divine and nothing is left of him.

Vidhya then explored a contemporary poem ‘His curls’ by Padmanabhan, the story of a mother torn between love for her son and the world around, against the background of violence which she reads in the newspaper every day. The son departs from home and the mother finally finds him dead, recognizing him by the curls of his hair and reconciles to his heroic death on the battlefield. Sound glitches marred the voice over which sort of reduced the overall impact of this piece. Vidhya concluded with a thillana, a composition of Lalgudi about Shiva and Shakti followed by a universal prayer for peace and happiness. Vidhya’s performance was characterized by subtlety and grace. Her emotive expressions befitting the mood and tenor of the compositions were well appreciated by the audience.

The two performances had the additional support of some excellent lighting by Sai Venkatesh which enhanced the overall impact.

Satish Suri has been an ardent follower of dance and music for more than 40 years, starting with being on  the committee of the International Music and Arts Society founded by Vijaya Devi, sister of the Late Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar and now presently is treasurer of World Dance Alliance Karnataka Chapter. He has presented several artists, both dancers and musicians, over the last 40 years.