Ananya Samarpana 2023 - thoughtfully curated, beautifully executed
- Vinita Radhakrishnan
November 23, 2023
Bangalore witnessed a brand new edition of the annually awaited 3-day dance festival, the 'Ananya Samarpana Dance Festival' organized by Gayatri Sriram, the founder and director of Shrutilaya Dance School in Singapore in collaboration with Ananya Bangalore, with the able support and guidance of Guru Minal Prabhu of Mudrika Foundation. This festival has over the past decade curated and enabled several wonderful performances from India and abroad and one of its main USP is that they give equal weightage to staging both established artistes and upcoming young artistes, making this one of the most inclusive dance festival in Bangalore today. I personally look forward to this festival every year. I feel that through their thorough curation process, they have managed to identify and stage some beautiful dancers across all forms of Indian classical dances. This year, I could only manage to attend the first and third day of the festival and it was a visual treat, to say the least.
The festival was inaugurated by a performance by Radha Vinay, a student of Guru Minal Prabhu. Though, all of 11 years, this young artiste is definitely a talent worth keeping an eye out for. Radha performed some highly energetic pieces starting with a unique Ganesha Alarippu, a choreography of her guru. This was followed by Dikshitar's kriti "Anandamirta karshini" in raga Amrutavarshini, another physically demanding piece from her guru's repertoire. She then danced a Purandara Dasa devarnama "Gummana kariyadire" and concluded her presentation with a Thillana in raga Brindavani, a choreography of Guru Adyar Lakshman. While Radha has only begun her dance journey and has a long way ahead of her, her stage presence, energy, and her control over rhythm were very impressive.
The next artiste who performed was Anjana Ramesh, a Bharatanatyam dancer based in Bangalore. She performed a unique piece called 'Vadane'. This piece was put together by stringing several shlokas from the Krishnakarnamrtam and was presented in a Varnam format. This was followed by the popular abhang "Rusali Radha". Both the pieces were choreographed by her Guru Kirthi Ramgopal. Anjana's presentation was very neat with the right amount of restraint and maturity in her abhinaya.
The final presentation for the evening was an engaging performance by Deepak Mazumdar, a highly respected name in the dance fraternity. He started his presentation with the famous Tulsidas Bhajan "Thumak chalata". This was followed by "Yaaro ivar yaaro", a famous composition of Arunachala Kavi portraying Lord Rama's first encounter with Sita in beautiful Mithila. This was followed by an ashtapadi "Mamiyam" and he concluded his performance with a unique composition "Parvathy parinayam" which he had learnt from his Guru Kanak Rele many decades ago. The agility in his eyes, his absolute control over his facial muscles, and his honest and organic body language kept the entire auditorium in a state of trance throughout the duration of the performance. With one piece mightier than the other, at the end of 50 minutes, the audience was left wanting for more. Deepak Mazumdar's performance is perhaps one of the most soulful performances of this year and a beautiful experience.
The third and final day was also delightful. The first performer was Chaitra Ananth, a dancer based in Bangalore who performed a Varnam in Ragamalika, with lyrics and music composed by D.S. Srivathsa and choreographed by Chaitra and Arun Sreenivasan. The choreography was fresh and engaging. Chaitra's command on abhinaya and her ability to hold her audience with her clear narrative was brilliant. She had the audience break into laughter several times during her performance, which is a sign of a great performance.
This was followed by a neat and energetic performance by Ashmita Jayaprakash from Singapore. Ashmita started her performance with a piece on Shiva, "Shankaragiri", a composition of Swathi Tirunal, and choreographed by Leela Samson. This was followed by an ashtapadi "Yahi Madhava" choreographed by her Guru PN Vikas. She concluded her performance with a crisp Thillana in raga Revati, another choreography of her guru. Her nritta was immaculate and poised and a testament to her practice and hard work.
Next was an engaging Kathak performance by Sweekruth B.P. He started with an energetic piece on Krishna and concluded his performance with a soulful composition of Basavanna. The most engaging part of his performance was an exploratory piece on Taal, where he interacted, engaged, and educated all of us with the nuances of rhythm in Kathak. It was an absolute joy to witness his presentation.
Neha Sathanapalli and Ananda Shankar Jayant
The concluding performance of this beautifully curated festival was a dance production conceptualized, choreographed, and performed by Bharatanatyam exponent Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant from Hyderabad. Ananda along with her disciple Neha Sathanapalli performed a musically rich production on Ramayana by stringing some of the beautiful Thyagaraja compositions. With carefully selected compositions, the duo traced the life of Lord Rama from his birth to his coronation. Though the production primarily was a series of Thyagaraja compositions, Ananda's vision, conceptualization, arrangement, and the clever usage of shlokas from the Ramayana text to tie them together made for a seamless presentation. Neha with her energetic nritta and powerful eyes supported her guru wonderfully throughout the production.
Bangalore based Bharatanatyam dancer Vinita Radhakrishnan has a Diploma from the Attakkalari Center for Movement Art with basic training in various contemporary dance techniques, Ballet, Kalari, Chhau and Deverattom. Professionally, she is a Patent Attorney and is currently working as a Senior Partner at BananaIP Counsels.