Gouri Anuraj’s debut in Mohiniattam
August 27, 2012
The Mohiniattam arangetram of Gouri Anuraj, disciple of Dr. Neena Prasad, took place on 5th of August 2012 at Vyloppilli Samskriti Bhavan, Trivandrum. The chief guest Guru Kalamandalam Kshemavathy blessed Gouri while the guest of honor for the evening was C P Unnikrishnan, the renowned scholar and art resource person. K Muraleedharan (MLA) presided over and also honored the distinguished guests.
Gouri performed the Cholkettu in Attana followed by Jathiswaram in Saranga, both compositions of Madhavan Nampoothiri. Her main piece, a Pada Varnam in Sudha Dhanyasi set to misra chaapu was a composition of Guru Kalamandalam Sugandhi. She went on to performing a Swati Padam in Thodi and an Ashtapadi in Charukesi in the second half of the evening. Gouri concluded her recital with a Thillana in raagam Thilang, roopaka thalam, a composition of Madhavan Nampoothiri. Choreography for the dances was by Neena Prasad.
The accompanying musicians for the evening were Neena Prasad on nattuvangam, Madhavan Nampoothiri on vocal, Vaipin Satheesh on mridangam, Haridas on violin, Thrissur Muraleekrishnan on veena and Thrissur Krishna Kumar on edakka.
With an academic background in Economics and Sociology, Gouri has been a disciple of Dr. Neena Prasad since 1999 learning Mohiniattam from the Bharatanjali Academy of Indian dances, Trivandrum. Gouri resides in the Middle East but her passion for the art doesn’t stop her from making frequent visits to India for furthering her skills in Mohiniattam under her mentor. In her times in Bharatanjali she has participated in many of its major dance productions including Krishna Bhakti, Kavyanarthaki, Thowryathrikam, Sitayanam to name a few. She has also undergone Kathakali training from Guru Krishna Prasad and Kuchipudi training from Jaikishore Mosalikanti.
Having learnt other dance styles, when she was asked about what drew her to Mohiniattam, she says that like all girls she also initiated her training under Dr. Neena Prasad for Bharatanatyam and also did her Masters in Bharatanatyam from Madras University. However, watching her teacher perform Mohiniattam captured her interest in the dance form and within two years she switched her loyalties completely to Mohiniattam. When probed further, she says Mohiniattam has in it a quality that gives a deeper sense of joy for a dancer much more than any of the other styles. She found a certain precision in the movements of the pure dance particularly in her teacher’s school that exuberated grace while the dancer exerted herself totally from within. This exertion may not even be felt by an audience due to the slow tempo that makes it look so easy and graceful but that, she says, is the characteristic feature of this dance form.