Ganga: thematic solo Odissi dance
- Satish Suri, Bangalore

March 14, 2012

As part of the Nritya Sinchana Series 9 of Ananya, Sarita Mishra gave a solo Odissi recital at the Seva Sadan on 26th February.

Starting with the traditional mangalacharan, Sarita chose to present Ganga as the theme of her presentation. The river Ganga is held in great reverence in Hindu mythology and many artistes have explored the stories around it. The curse of Kapilamuni turned the entire Sagarvamsha to ashes. Bhagiratha, the great grandson of King Sagar, prays to Brahma and learns that if the holy water of Ganga touches the ashes, these souls will attain salvation.

Bhagiratha prays to Ganga to descend. She agrees and wants someone to sustain the gushing flow. On Brahma’s suggestion, Bhagiratha prays to Shiva to contain the flow. When Ganga is about to descend, she finds Shiva sitting with his hair open. She laughs and ridicules him. Shiva becomes angry and as Ganga descended, He knotted his hair with Ganga trapped inside. Realizing that Ganga did not touch the earth, Bhagiratha prays to Shiva to release Ganga. Moved by the prayer, Shiva releases Ganga drop by drop and all the sagarvamshajas attain salvation. The gestures and movements associated were beautifully executed. Today, the Ganga has become a place for disposal of dead bodies and the Ganga cries out in vain for her revival. She, who saved the community, prays for her own survival.

Sarita’s portrayal of this narrative was full of finesse and grace. The spirit of the story was echoed in her movements, the intricate footwork with rhythmic patterns. The abhinaya was expressive; the anguish of Bhagiratha, the derision of Shiva by Ganga, the anger of Shiva were  evocatively expressed to enrapture the dance lovers.
She ended her performance with Moksh, the traditional finale of the Odissi repertoire.

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 artistes, both dancers and musicians, over the last 40 years.