Utsav Music celebrates World Dance Day

May 11, 2014

Utsav Music in association with Sri Krishna Gana Sabha celebrated International Dance day on 29th April 2014 at Chennai. Mr. Bharat Joshi - Deputy High Commissioner (British Deputy High Commission)  inaugurated the festival and handed over the Utsav Nrithya Ratna title to Bharatanatyam guru Chitra Visweswaran. This was followed by brilliant dance presentations by eminent dancers of various classical dance styles from all over India. The presentations featured were Odissi by Dr. Raveena Tandon of Auroville, Pondicherry; Bharatanatyam by Urmila Satyanarayana of Chennai; Kuchipudi by Yamini Reddy of Hyderabad; Kathak by actor/dancer Meghranjani of Assam; Group choreography by Radhika Shurajit’s troupe from Chennai.

With her strong foundation in Bharatanatyam from legendary KN Dhandayuthapani Pillai, KJ Sarasa and Kalanidhi Narayanan, Urmila's dance reflected her artistry and sense of aesthetics. She chose to present a Pushpanjali in ragam Bhahudari, talam adi, a composition of Swamimalai SK Suresh.  This was followed by Sadananda Tandavam, an item in praise of the Lord of dance. The item described the glory of the majestic cosmic dance of Shiva and the devotees surrender to him in totality. She also performed a padham "Yaradi indha vaasalil" in ragam Shanmugapriya, adi talam, a composition of Dhandayuthapani Pillai. Urmila's mobile face registered the myriad emotions with élan and finesse.

Daughter and disciple of Kuchipudi exponents Raja and Radha Reddy, Yamini has got the best from her parents be it her gene, talent or her training. She has mastered the conventional style of performing Kuchipudi and is truly the thread of continuity in the family tradition of the Reddys. She performed the Shiva Tandavam in ragam Paraju set to adi talam. This item described the cosmic dance, the 5 rhythms and the navarasas. This was a brilliant choreography of her parents.

Meghranjani Medhi is a young promising Kathak artiste from Assam. She is the daughter of Marami Medhi, a renowned exponent of Kathak and Joyprakash Medhi, a well known vocalist, composer and music director of Assam. She had her training under her mother and later attended workshops conducted by Pandit Birju Maharaj. A graceful dancer, Meghranjani has also acted as heroine in films, telefilms, educational films etc. Her recent acclaimed work was in the Toronto festival of arts, where she performed as Mumtaz along with the famous hero Kabir Bedi, choreographed by Guru Kumudhini Lakhia. She performed the Shiv Vandana which was based on raga Gunakri and set to rupaka tala. This was followed by some pure dance comprising of tukra, tora, paran, gat, tihai etc in teen taal. Meghranjani also performed her own choreography to Dhrupad - Badal garaje nabha ghor set to tibra tala of 7 beats. This beautiful composition expressed the impact of rain and thunder on creative souls inspiring them to submerge themselves in the sea of nada, laya and swara. The music for this number was by her father Joyprakash Medhi.

Having been trained by Madhavi Mudhgal and later under the guidance of Guru Trinath Maharana, Rekha Tandon's dance brings forth her intense training and original creativity in abundance. She has co-authored the book ‘Odissi - a dance of sculpture’ along with her husband Michael Weston. She presented a shortened adaptation from a full length work which explored embodying Odissi choreography as a vehicle for the "first person voice." The item began with lines from Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali and went on to explore the flavour of abstract dance in Odissi. The item flowed into abhinaya using words by the poet Surdas sung in tumri form, describing a state of reverie on shyama, with a fitting poem ‘Phenomenal Woman’ by Maya Anjelou. The choreography was by Rekha Tandon.

Being one of the senior disciples of The Dhananjayans, Radhika Shurajit's work reflected the impeccable stamp of her gurus along with the creative thinking and beautiful choreography, which added charm to the 2 numbers presented by her troupe. The first was Tamizh Vandanam- an invocation to the language Tamizh, which was described as a beautiful woman adorned with jewels, the 5 great works (Imiperum kaapiyam- seevagachindamani, kundalakesi, manimekalai, valaiyapathy and silapadikaram). As a fitting finale the troupe presented a fusion number Thaye Yasoda sung by Sudha Raghunathan.

Utsav Music is a non-profit organisation formed 15 years back by Churchill Pandian to promote art and culture and to take classical art forms to the common man. It has staged  several international events like actor dancer Meenakshi Seshadri's  'Celluloid Classics', Jonathan Hollander's Battery Dance Company's  'Layapriya', Radhika Shurajit’s dance tribute ‘G Ramanathan to AR Rahman’ and music tribute ‘Geetham Madhuram’ to MS Subbalakshmi, a unique show ‘Maestros in sync’ jugalbandi of Dr. M Balamuralikrishna and Ustad Zakir Hussain and several other shows.

Utsav Music has produced documentaries on the dancing couple The Dhananjayans, singer S Janaki and the actor Sowkar Janaki and several thematic shows for several television networks in India. The founder director Churchill Pandian is a leading journalist and has also penned hundreds of articles on art and culture. He has been the convenor for several festivals all over India. He is currently in charge of documentation and archival work of violinist Dr. L Subramaniam.