Utsav: Young torch-bearers display vibrancy of Indian culture
- Ragasudha Vinjamuri, UK

October 5, 2005

India is a land of exoticism and mysticism. There has always been something mystical about the Indian dances that captivated the hearts of western audience and captured global attention. Keeping alive the tradition, and at the same time offering younger audience modernity and new spirits, Upasana celebrated its first anniversary recently at Manchester High School for Girls. The program included winsome performance by Vaishnavi and Nivedita which was a delight to watch. Beginning with the invocation to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, the program continued with graceful Jatiswaram. This was followed by Varnam whose theme was reflection of the bond of love between mother and child, an ode to every parent. The importance of mother-child relationship, how she cares, loves, educates, disciplines and brings us up, has been emphasised here.

Subtle facial expressions and emotion were vibrantly shown in the item Shambho Shiva Shambho - a Sanskrit composition of Dayananda Saraswati, set to Revathi raga. The fascinating grandeur of Lord Shiva's cosmic dance was effortfully displayed. The spectators enjoyed the strong footwork of the young performers in the rhythmic patterns of Thillana. Though there was no traditional benediction as the concluding item of the dance recital, the fitting finale Kurathi offered a good taste of the rich and popular folk culture of South India. In lively enjoyable folk tunes and appealing dance movements, Kurathis - a set of gypsies moving from place to place - narrate their skills in palm reading and predicting the future. This concluding piece showcased local talent as the group of young children danced animatedly on stage.

An appreciative audience and suitable ambience lent the evening a certain element of charm.