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- Bhavani Ravindran
Photos: Seasons Stories

April 12, 2024

On 31st March 2024, at the Teach Auditorium of the Spastic Society at Taramani, Chennai, two alumni of Bharata Kalanjali, K Sarveshan and Divya Shivasundar, presented a dance performance 'Naamasankirna' which was an attempt to showcase the old productions of their gurus, the Dhananjayans.


The opening item was 'Nandichol' composed by Ramesh Babu with dance choreography by Shanta Dhananjayan and the late Rajesh Balakrishnan during the 1990s, in the ragam Rishabapriya and khanda chapu talam. It is a purely rhythmic piece, well performed by Sarvesh and Divya.

This was followed by 'Ganesha Sabdam', lyrics and natya composed by the Dhananjayans and music by K Rajashekaran. This is a vintage Bharata Kalanjali item, first performed in 1975, and is so popular that it is still being performed widely by the students. It has a brief sanchari depicting the stories of Ganesha, well communicated through simple and suggestive facial expressions by Divya and Sarveshan.

Next was the main item, Nrityopahaaram, in Karaharapriya ragam and adi talam, with music by Tenmadam Narasimhachari, a contemporary of Sri Thyagaraja. Dance choreography is by the Dhananjayans. The essence of this item is the concept of the power of "Raama Nama", the Adhwaita philosophy that puts forth the concept of one god as against the practice of worshipping multiple gods. One of the most attractive sancharis was the conversion of sage Valmiki from a hardened dacoit into a poet, such is the power of Raama Nama. First composed in 1978, this is a repeated favourite in the repertoire of the institution, considered to be one of their masterpieces. It was very well performed by Divya and Sarveshan.


The main item was followed by two solo performances, a Ninda Stuti in Suruti ragam rupaka talam, by Sarveshan. Music composed by Marimutha Pillai, the piece depicts a devotee questioning Lord Shiva's indifference to his devotee, performed ably by the dancer. Next was a Purandaradasa's kriti by Divya. A completely bhakti laden song beautifully sung by Murali Parthasarathy and very well performed by Divya where the singer and dancer were in perfect sync, making it a wonderful experience.

Divya and Sarveshan concluded with a 'Nrityaangaharam' in raga Kannada in a complex talam pattern called Sankirnam, with music by Delhi Gopalakrishnan of AIR, choreographed in 1984. It was a garland of nritya patterns and having the complexity of different jatis. The performance ended with "Maithreem Bhajatha", the famous hymn, as the Mangalam.

The orchestra led by Shanta Dhananjayan on the nattuvangam, with Murali Parthasarathy on vocal, Ramesh Babu on the mridangam, Kalaiarasan on the violin, Sunil Kumar on flute, and Ananthanarayanan on the veena, was exceptional. Their professionalism was of the highest order as could be seen from their performance and coordination. A senior disciple of the Dhananjayans, Pushkala Gopal spoke during a break in the show, highlighting the skill and dedication of the artistes, and also appreciated the lighting decor done by CP Satyajit.

The Teach Auditorium is an ideal venue for such intimate performances. It is compact and even though not air-conditioned, has good acoustics and no outside disturbances.

Bhavani Ravindran
Bhavani Ravindran is a Bharatanatyam dancer, a student of T.A. Rajalakshmi, from Kolkata. She has a Master's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Bharatanatyam from Madras University. She also paints, Tanjore art being her forte.

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