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Vibrant performance by Christopher Gurusamy
- Vijay Shanker

January 28, 2020

Adishakti School of Bharatanatyam presented Ekam Festival at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium in Bangalore on December 15, 2019. The program featured two Bharatanatyam dancers, Deepa S. Manohar and Christopher Gurusamy.

Deepa S Manohar

Deepa S Manohar is the disciple of Charles Ma, who heads the Adishakti School of Bharatanatyam and is one of the leading male dancers of Bangalore, teacher, choreographer and nattuvanar. She commenced her performance with invocation to the presiding deities, particularly Lord Murugan and followed it with a beautiful composition "Mate malayadwaja" incorporating the varied attributes of the goddess and also as the goddess of the Mysore king. This number featured the benevolent and virile aspects of the goddess as the killer of the demon Mahisha, dramatically enacted by Deepa.

Dayanand Saraswati's composition "Bho Shambho" portrayed Lord Shiva as the lord of creation, preservation and destruction. Deepa performed with fine control over the technique and typical poses of the lord. She concluded her performance with an extract from Tulsidas's Rama Charita Manas, wherein the dancer while glorifying the Lord, also briefly interpreted varied episodes from the Ramayana. Deepa is a talented dancer who danced to rhythmic accuracy while executing varied movements which were in fast tempo but she needs to concentrate on the aesthetic aspect of the performance.

Christopher Gurusamy
Pic: Somevague Focus Photography

Christopher Gurusamy was the guest performer of the evening who created a lasting impression with his intense and vibrant performance. Born and brought up in Perth, Western Australia, Christopher was attracted to Bharatanatyam from a young age and ultimately arrived at Kalakshetra in Chennai to pursue his passion. Over the years, he has given several performances and is also part of Leela Samson's Spanda Dance Company. Before commencing his recital, Christopher announced that he would reduce the duration of the varnam due to time constraint but ultimately what mattered the most was the quality. The varnam "Sami ninne kori" portrayed the restlessness of the heroine as she yearns to meet Lord Brihadeeswara. Christopher's flamboyant movements and intensity of abhinaya was the highlight of the performance.

The Purandaradasa composition "Jagadhodharana" featured Lord Krishna as lord of the universe and devotion of the saint composer as he narrates the varied aspects of his life. It was a pleasure to watch Christopher perform as he gets completely involved with utmost sincerity while creating rasanubhava with the audience. Christopher concluded the performance with the ashtapadi "Kshana madhuna" as Krishna anxiously waits to meet Radha. Normally it is the heroines who suffer but there are cases when the heroes too have their share of suffering.

Kudos to Charles Ma for taking the initiative to organize the festival without any corporate support.

Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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