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Delightful duet dancers
- Vijay Shanker

September 16, 2023

As part of the Umang series, National Centre for the Performing Arts presented two delightful couple dancers, Phagre Sisters - Kalyani and Vaidehi - in a Odissi performance and the husband and wife duo, Sonam and Sachhidanand Narayankar in a Bharatanatyam recital. It was delightful to watch both the dances being performed on the same platform, as the dancers performed with uniformity and fine synchronization. The programme was held on 24th August at the NCPA Little Theatre, Mumbai.

Phagre Sisters
Phagre Sisters

The programme commenced with the Odissi performance. Kalyani and Vaidehi Phagre incorporated the philosophy of 'Dwait-Adwait' (oneness) and the essence of the Rig and Atharva Veda in the first item of Mangalacharan, while seeking the blessings of Lord Jagannath for the harmony and well-being of life. It was a pleasure to watch the siblings dance with elegance and clarity of movements, being supplementary and complimentary to each other, seeking divine intervention.

After the Odia Banmali Das composition, the duo performed Behag Pallavi, music by Pandit Bhubaneswar Mishra and choreography by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. The dancers performed with lyrical elegance, as the dance ascended its speed with melody and complex rhythm, blending well with typical Odissi movements, creating a fine spectacle and impression on the audience. The last number performed by the sisters was a tribute to the river Narmada in Narmada Ashtakam. "Namami Devi Narmada" portrayed the beauty of the goddess Narmada and her serene qualities, a Shankaracharya composition. The Phagre sisters are based in Bhopal and are the disciples of Guru Bindu Juneja.

Sonam and Sachhidanand Narayankar
Sonam and Sachhidanand Narayankar

Sholapur based dynamic couple dancers, Sonam and Sachhidanand Narayankar performed Bharatanatyam. It was a pleasure to watch the young couple dancing with fine synchronisation, elegance and uniformity. The dancers commenced their performance with the beautiful composition of the saint poet Adi Shankaracharya in praise of the Ardhanarishwara concept of Lord Shiva, projecting the masculine and feminine spirit. While the Lord is completely smeared with ashes and wears a garland of skulls, dancing with vibrancy and vitality, the goddess adorns herself with garlands and dances with elegance and softness. Both Sonam and Sachhidanand made a fine start to their one hour performance which was well applauded.

In the varnam, a composition by Dandayudapani Pillai, the heroine is anxious to meet her lord and asks her sakhi as to when he would come; she imagines and recollects her moments of union with the Lord. The subtle gestures, the sancharis and the sudden appearance and disappearance of Sachhidanand with a playful touch, made the item quite interesting and appealing. The duo danced well with distinct and sparkling movements.

The last number of the evening was the Marathi composition "Rusli Radha, Rusli Madhava, Rusle Gokul Sari." Both Radha and Krishna are not on talking terms due to the love quarrel, hence the whole of Gokul looks dull and sad but Krishna tries different ways to please Radha and at last wins her over and they dance happily. Both Sonam and Sachhidanand are dancers from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya and are the disciples of Guru Vaibhav Arekar. They have already danced in some of the most prestigious festivals and deserve to be seen more often.

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

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