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Nirikshana - 39th Natya Kala Conference: Day 4
- Prof Dr Parul Shah
Photos: Vinay Tiwari

December 30, 2019

The days have flown very fast, immersing one and all in this Geeta Gyan Yagna of dance: Nirikshana. So many things to see and absorb. It is going to take time going through all that we are perceiving and experiencing. All of us have developed the discipline of arriving on time. Right on dot of 8am, the session on Legacy Lights started this morning. The solo showcasing of ageless tradition has Indira Kadambi, one of the torch bearers of Kalanidhi Narayan's bequest. Indira's abhinaya explorations took us through many shades of Vipralabdha Nayika through subtle and strong reactions at the cheating, infidelity and audacity of the Nayaka. The four expressional items Javali, Padams and last ashtapadi Yahi Madhava were a class act. Almost all of us had goose pimples. From loud and bashful to a senior Vipralab, her intensity of abhinaya and vocals by her husband T.V. Ramprasad were one, inseparable, each one is so complimentary to the other. Indeed a visual, oratory and sensual treat it was.

Indira Kadambi

Ashish Mohan Khokar in his very easy but informative style elaborated on creation of Mohan Khokar Dance Collection, MKDC, which is now permanently housed at the IGNCA, Delhi. After giving a brief note on the history of his family and his father Mohan Khokar, his life mission, Ashish gave details of the collection which has thousands of photographs, articles, books, masks, statues and much more only on DANCE. This is one man's fanatic passion that is now given to the nation. Ashish has taken the responsibility of giving the dream a shape. The 12 minute film showed the details of the organising process.

Praveen Kumar

Navia Natarajan

And then came one of the most awaited and interesting segment of NKC which most attendees were looking forward to. It was given prime time with longest duration of almost 3 hours. The session was definitely planned thoughtfully and creatively. The title was 'Transparent Critiquing' and that too dynamic! When Rama Vaidyanathan announced the modus operandi, there was first a kind of hushed silence, then small laughter and a lot of curiosity. The 4 selected dancers and 4 established dance critics, each was assigned to one with random selection process. The critic would observe the dance presentation of 16 minutes each, go out and write about 300 words. As they are writing outside, there would be audience interaction with the artistes. The critics would come back and present their critical comments. One hour for each activity. The pairs were Navia Natarajan and Dr. Sunil Kothari, Praveen Kumar and S. Janaki, Janaki Rangarajan and Veejay Sai, Lavanya Ananth and LeelaVenkataraman. I think the idea was to have a sincere exercise of dynamics between the rasikas, the performer and the critic. All the four young dancers presented their best thought, choreographed and rehearsed works, each with a brilliant special take and interpretation of concept: traditional, abstract or personal. In a wonderful open interaction with the audience, the critics responded very openly. In all highly charged but very worth inclusion to Nirikshana. I think this is a first of its kind try and three cheers to Rama for thinking and executing.

Nina Rajarani Dance Creations

The last segment of premieres of trend setting ensemble work was “Play Ball” by Nina Rajarani Dance Creations of London. After the first Bharatanatyam piece, the two presentations 'Play Ball' and 'Quick' utilised multiple movement vocabularies, very innovative costumes and music. It was very fascinating to watch the football play come alive with players in the usual football uniforms. In 'Quick,' the try was to project daily life in London and its challenges.

Today was the day of Fire and there was so much vibrancy in colours all around. Meeting friends, taking photographs and sipping hot coffee, with so much dance is almost unbelievable.

Prof Dr Parul Shah is Former Head and Dean, Faculty of Performing Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Principal Investigator, E Pathashala and MOOCs, SWAYAM, MHRD-UGC-CEC.

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