Dancers dazzle at Nartaka Festival Malaysia
- Prema Satish Reddy

November 28, 2012

Sutra Foundation (Malaysia) and Natyanjali Trust (Chennai) presented JOINED IN DANCE, Nartaka Dance Festival Malaysia from November 6 to 11, 2012 at Kuala Lumpur. The festival featured dancers from Malaysia, Australia and India.

The first day of the Nartaka Dance Festival in Malaysia opened with an interesting Alarippu in misra chapu by all the dancers. The first day of the program was in praise of Lord Siva, the cosmic dancer, a macho male dancer. The neat item ‘Mangala Charanam,’ an Odissi number in praise of Lord Siva was presented with beauty and vigour by Ramli Ibrahim, Guna, Jagatheyswaran, Harenthiran, Parveen Nair and Mohd Syawal. Beauty, grace and coordination were the highlight of this piece. Sinam Basu Singh presented Siva stuti in the Manipuri format.  He stole the hearts of the Malaysians with his vibrant performance.  His costume and music deserve praise.

‘Abarana Shankara,’ the adornments of Lord Siva, in Sankarabaranam was a treat for the eyes. Shankar Kandasamy choreographed and presented this item with absolute grace and executed the intricate adavus perfectly. Ajith Bhaskaran Dass and his team excelled in ‘Bho Shambo.’ Nadarajan Muniandy in ‘Vilva Vriksham’ proved himself to be a good dancer.

Dancers Sujeevan, Sam Goraya and Vikram Chin, disciples of Chandrabanu, shone with energy and vigour in ‘Panchakshara stotram’ in Odissi.  The concluding item for the first day ‘Nandi Chol,’ a choreography of Guru Adyar K Lakshman, saw a talented lot from Malaysian dance arena featuring Guna, Shankar Kandasamy, Ramli Ibrahim, Ajith Bhaskaran Dass, Nadarajan Muniandy, Parveen Nair, Harenthiran, Jagatheyswaran and Mohd Syawal, and Shanmuga Sundaram from Chennai.

Shankar Kandasamy
Photo: Megan Subramanian

Ramli Ibrahim

Nadarajan Muniandy
Photo: Megan Subramanian

Aman Yap

Jagatheyswaran, Harenthiran, Mohd Syawal & Parveen Nair

The highlight of the second day in praise of Lord Vishnu was ‘Dasavatar’ in Manipuri and Odissi.  Both Lingaraj Pradhan (Odissi) and Sinam Basu Singh (Manipuri) did commendable work.  ‘Govardhana Giridara,’ a beautiful presentation by Guna and his team from Sutra excelled in this item. Bharatanatyam dancer Parshwanath Upadhye, darling of the Malaysian audience, deserves high praise for his subtle abhinaya and neat footwork.  He needed only a couple of minutes to prove his talent in ‘Punyah Krishna.’ The evening ended with a Brindavani thillana choreographed by Jayanthi Subramaniam.

Sinam Basu Singh

Parshwanath Upadhye

Shanmugha Sundaram
Photo: Megan Subramanian

Lingaraj Pradhan

The third day was in praise of Devi, and opened with ‘Mangala Charanam’ in Odissi dedicated to Saraswati by Guna, Ramli, Parveen Nair, Harenthiran, Jagatheyswaran, Mohd Syawal and Lingaraj Pradhan. ‘Parasakthi,’ the supreme energy of the universe, the divine mother who destroys the evil Mahisura was vibrant, very well presented by Ajith Baskaran Dass and his team (Vijay Chandran, Vijayan Veeryen and Parthiben Sethu) from Suvarna Fine Arts.

Chandrabanu and Prema Satish
‘Maha Tripura Sundari’ in Sivaranjini raga was presented beautifully by none other than the Malaysians’ favourite, Parshwanath Upadhye. Though he was given only two solo items, he won the hearts of the audience, with his neat footwork, leaps and jumps. The perfect mandi adavus was a treat for the eyes and the applause would not stop. The Hindolam Thillana was presented by a galaxy of dancers.

The fourth and fifth day of the Nartaka Dance Festival was dominated by contemporary dance. Shankar Kandasamy presented a unique item ‘InnovADAVUation’ with the innovative exploration of Bharatanatyam adavus, celebrating the adavus to unlimited creative possibilities. ‘Alarippu’ in contemporary style was very well attempted by Yunus Ismail and Sufi Asyraf. ‘Such- an-Ananda’ choreographed and performed by Guna was a feast for the eyes.  He has re-arranged and composed many items for this festival.  His dedication and passion for dance knows no limits.  Choreographed by Amandus Paul Panan, Seni Asia’s ‘Angin’ (mind) or ‘inner winds’ energizing force in this traditional Malay art form brought out the dancers’ beauty and vigour.
Choreographed by Aman Yap Choong Boon, ‘Ancient inscription’ by Dua Space Dance Theatre was out of this world.  Dancers Aman Yap, Kent Tan, Howard Hew and Kenny Leow were on cloud nine after their successful presentation.  An energetic and power packed performance indeed.  ‘Suara Taksim’ by Aswara Dance Company featured choreographer Fairul Zahid, Hanafi, Fauzi and Azizi. ‘Fitrah’ was choreographed and danced by Amandus Paul of Seni Asia. It won for best creative dance category in the Selangor Dance Festival in 2003. The concluding tillana in Mohanam, a pure dance with a verse praising a kingly patron, was innovative and interesting.

Dua Space Dance Theatre

Seni Asia

Ajit Bhaskaran Dass and Suvarna Fine Arts
Photo: Megan Subramanian

Ganga Taranga by Sutra
Photo: Megan Subramanian

On the fifth day, the audience was treated to group presentations of ‘Mahaganapathim’ and ‘Pibare Ramarasam.’ ‘Krishna nee begane baro’ was beautifully presented with a contemporary touch. Guna was cute as Krishna and Nadarajan Muniandy played the role of mother with grace and dignity. ‘Suasana’ was dedicated to Guru Chandrabanu, the winner of the Nartaka Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian classical dance in Malaysia. All the dancers participated in this contemporary piece.

‘Getaran Jiwa and Lagenda’ was choreographed by Ramli Ibrahim and featured Ramli, Guna, Weijun and Amandus. This piece was a nostalgic homage to the legendary ‘Purush’ of Malaysia: Film icon P Ramlee, dancer Lari leong, actor Mustafa Nor, singer Sudirman and poet Usman Awang. This outstanding presentation received a standing ovation from the audience. Ramli Ibrahim is himself an icon in the Malaysian arts scene. Through the festival, he wore many hats – organizer, dancer, speaker, M.C. and the list goes on. The five day festival concluded with an interesting item ‘Satu’ choreographed by Amandus Paul Panan.  All the 45 dancers participated in this dance of joy and celebration.

Sivarajah Natarajan, lighting designer par excellence, was an integral part of this five day festival. He also curated ‘Purush,’ an exhibition of photography and painting of images of the male dancer. At the end of the day, what matters is the talent and not the gender!

Photo: Megan Subramanian

Photo: Megan Subramanian

On the second day of the Nartaka Dance Festival, Sutra Foundation presented the Purush Award to Prema Satish Reddy for promoting talented male dancers in India.  Prema has learnt Bharatanatyam under Guru Subbaraya Pillai and her Natyanjali Trust (started by her mother late Jayalakshmi Sadagopan) has been presenting the Nartaka Festival for the last six years in Chennai.