Adyasha Foundation’s Shishirachchanda Festival was charming

Shishirachhanda festival organised by Adyasha Foundation began with a kathak duo by Laxmi Narayana Jena and T. Prarthana, disciples of Mysore Nagaraj. The duo clad in beautiful costumes began with “Omkarakaarini” in Lavangi, a popular composition of Dr. Balamuralikrishna. The choreography was elegant, a perfect combination of brain and heart.

The delineation of the sahitya was well thought of and much credit to guru Nagaraj for his visualisation. The dancers, especially Laxmi Narayana, performed with great energy and was brimming with confidence. They then presented an Abhinaya piece depicting the Radha-Krishna viraha, bhakti and prema. The structuring of this piece takes Radha through the phase of Virahotkanta, Khandita and when Krishna dresses himself up as Radha, he traverses through being a Vaska sajja and Abhisarika. The piece was conceived aesthetically, but the dancers could not reach the depth the choreography demanded. The transitions seemed sudden and did not flow smoothly as intentioned. The highlight of their show though was a beautiful Nritta piece set in Madhuvanti, full of rhythmic conversations, which was presented with neatness and charm. The lighting for the show was impeccable.

Anwesha Mahanta, a Bismillah Khan Yuvapuraskar Award winner presented Sattriya, a dance form comparatively new to the Bangalore audience. Her first piece was Prakriti- Purusha, dwelling upon the equation between Prakruti, Purusha and the ultimate conscience – Niyanti Madhava. Unlike most pieces that explore the Prakruti-Purusha theme, this choreography seemed fresh, insightful and meditative. This was followed by Narasimha Leela. The Narasimha avatar story showcased her mastery over her craft. Her abhinaya and voice throw was impeccable. She presented the art form with authority and brilliance. Her stage presence, use of space and energy were superlative.

Adhyasha foundation’s Odissi presentation followed. Much credit must be given to artistes like Sarita Misra who are building a cultural bridges by propagating these art forms. Her students showed excellent capability in Abhinaya and grace. With beautiful tribhangas and charis in place, they presented the Kannada composition “Shrungapuradheeshwari Sharade” with aplomb. Sarita Misra’s brief stint as Shankaracharya gave a sneak peak into her depth as an artiste. It was heartening to hear this composition of our own Sri Padmacharan in a different musical dialect. One minor interpretational change that could be advocated was in that of showing “Shiva” for Shankara Sannute. In this context it has to be Shankaracharya and not Shiva. The popular Pallavi in Vasanta, conceived by guru Kelucharan Mohapatra is an immortal piece. The students made a good attempt at presenting it. Tiny dots from the school presented Jala Bindu, full of complicated rhythmic structures with ease. The audiences were delighted to watch these tiny dolls clad in beautiful costumes dancing with passion. The highlight of the performance was the Banamali Das poem “Sajani” in Raga Bhairavi. The two young dancers Mugdha Samant and Sai Srishti Rath showed maturity and promise in their presentation of Shrungara at such a young age. Their intensity and passion stood out from the rest. The Shiva Panchakam and Moksha Mangalam were filled with beautiful imagery and formations. The performance was lit aptly and featured amazing music tracks most of which were composed by Srinivas Satpathy, the brilliant flautist from Orissa.

The last performance of the day was by the popular Rasika ensemble. The dancers were immaculate and full of perfection. Though the ensemble presented only two pieces, they did a brilliant job. Who knew “Kandanal Mudalai” could be interpreted so intelligently? The two Nayikas and the Sakhi are all in love with the same Nayaka (Muruga) here, and the way in which it was put together was highly impressive. The romantic, melancholic and comical moments of the story were tailored together beautifully. Special mention to Pooja Krishnamurthy for her very sensitive Abhinaya as the Sakhi. Her use of restraint, hold over satwika abhinaya and capacity to emote through her eyes made her shine through the performance. If only she practices to avoid the holding and releasing of the face muscles intermittently during Abhinaya, her craft will grow multifold. A very promising artiste to look out for! The next composition was set to complex rhythm, Sadachaleshwaram, a panchabhutalinga kriti of Deekshitar. Shivaranjini, stood out with her stage presence and her command over the understanding of the choreography. The purottamas (rhythmic signatures that collide with the musical structure of the composition) were beautiful.

A master that Kiran Subrahmanyam is, he could have kept the vilamba gati of the composition and still done wonders with it. The Bhoopala raga as well as the kriti follow a Dhrupad like structure and their true beauty only unfolds when presented in that pace. A wonderful presentation nevertheless.

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