Kapardhini Dance Festival
- Madhuri Sarkar
May 3, 2023
Kapardhini School of Dance recently organised its second edition of Kapardhini Dance Festival at Seva Sadan, Bengaluru, on March 31, 2023. Chief guests, Dr. Ananya Raghavendra and Rangashree were mesmerized by all four performing artistes of the evening. They congratulated and encouraged the young dancer Darshan for organising such a festival for two consecutive years. The artistes for the evening were Darshan Shankar (Bharatanatyam), Sarita Mishra (Odissi), Srinivasan Rajendran (Natyam in Stree Vesham) and Gururaju N (Kuchipudi).
There were many gurus and dignitaries who graced the evening by their presence as audience among whom Dr. Shatavadhani R. Ganesh, Mantap Prabhakar Upadhya and Sathyanarayana Raju deserve mention. Sathyanarayana Raju who was a participant artist himself at the first Kapardhini Dance Festival commended Darshan for giving platform to various artistes through his festival. At this hour when classical art forms are seeking audience, artistes need each other's support through festivals like this, he said.
The first performer of the event was Darshan himself who through his Bharatanatyam performance left an indelible impact on the audience. He performed a varnam 'Swamiyai azhaithodi va sakiye' in Ragamalika set to adi talam. The dance was choreographed by Guru Vaibhav Arekar and the music was composed by Srikanth Gopalakrishnan. The varnam depicts a nayika longing for her beloved Lord Shiva and asking her friend to be the messenger so that he comes and visits to release her from the pain of being parted. The choreography seemed flawless and Darshan rose to perfection with his dedication, perseverance and passion towards his art form.
Sarita Mishra as a dancer needs no introduction as she has already created an indelible mark in the field of Odissi dance form. She presented 'Panchabhuta' or 'the Five Elements of Nature' as her first piece, choreographed by Guru Aruna Mohanty. Sarita, through her dance illustrated how these five elements Prithvi (earth), Jala (water), Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Akasha (ether) are the source of life. Her final item was 'Surpanakha' choreographed by Guru Bichitrananda Swain. She was immensely graceful in her dancing and at the same time forceful in the character of the stubborn demon princess. According to Rangashree, it was a true delight to the eyes.
Srinivasan Rajendran who is popular for his 'Tandava' boys presented something out of the box at Kapardhini. He does not name it as a dance form but instead called it as 'Natyam', a culmination of all the aspects of dance. His spectacular entrance in Stree Vesham made the audience applaud. The repertoire was named 'Venu Visarjana' depicting Radha's pure and eternal love towards Krishna. While leaving for Mathura, Krishna gave his flute to Radha on her request. The pain of Radha was so well exhibited by his expressions that most of the audience were left teary-eyed. Dr. Ananya Raghavendra praised Srinivasan for his natural abhinaya and beautiful transformation into stree vesham. The dance movements were derived from Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi whereas, the music and aharya (costume) were of Yakshagana. The concept and lyrics were by Dr. Shatavadhani R. Ganesh. Srinivasan was inspired by Mantap Prabhakar Upadhya and choreographed in his own style.
N Gururaju, the true torch bearer of Guru Vyjayanthi Kashi, performed two of her choreographies strictly adhering to her style of Kuchipudi dance. Gururaju is known for his powerful performances. We witnessed the same at Kapardhini. His first item was 'Jaya jaya jithavairi' (Victory to Ganesha, the all-powerful elephant headed lord) in raga Hamsadhwani set to adi talam. The song was composed by Tirtha Narayana Yati in the longest Sanskrit opera, Krishna Leela Tarangini. Gururaju concluded his presentation with a traditional 'Dasavatara Shabdam' composed by Sidda Batula Venkanna in ragam Mohanam set to mishra chapu talam. Standing as Lord Vishnu, Gururaju looked divine on stage when the lights played with the shadows.
Madhuri Sarkar, Founder and Director at Nigamsudha Performing Arts, is a Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi practitioner based in Bangalore.