Every year on Children’s Day, Raasavrunda of Mysuru pays rich tributes to all its Gurus. Vid. Y.N. Simha, Dr. Venkatalakshamma, Vid. Lalita Dorai and Pandit Teerathram Sharma Azad are the teachers who have played major role in shaping Vidu. Nandini Eswer. With their blessings, Raasavrunda is passing on the rich tradition of many dance forms to deserving pupils. This year too, the ‘Guru Vandana’ was held on the 14th of November at Veene Seshanna Bhavana.
Raasavrunda has carved a niche for itself with its uncompromising adherence to tradition. They always display simple and meaningful costume and a presentation that reaches the audience effectively. In fact, they are the hallmark of Raasavrunda. Natuvanga was held by Vid. Rohitha Eswer, son and disciple of Vidu. Nandini Eswer for this concert. Young Nityashree and Mahima Kashyap were new introduction to vocal. Vid. H.L. Shivashankaraswamy was on mridanga and Vid. Thandavamurthy on violin.
The distinguished feature of this ‘Guru Vandana’ was the selection of vilambakaala for almost all the items that were presented (except Alaripu and Thillana). It was indeed a challenge for the dancers to fill up the gap and yet hold the audience. The fact that Varna, Daru, Padam and Ashtapadi which were all in slow tempo held the audience glued to their seats itself speaks volume of the success of this programme. Hats off to Chinmayee Bharadwaj and Nithyashri Shetty, the senior students for their brilliant performance.
‘Kalaitookki’, a Tamil composition in praise of Nataraja, Lord of Dance, was an apt selection for the opening. Chinmayee was perfect in both nritya and abhinaya. After Alaripu (Misrachapu) by the young dancers, a Jathiswara in the raga Chakravaka by Ponniah Pillai was presented by M.A. Anisha and Pranathi Bharadwaj. They both successfully erected a tapestry of rhythms. The padavarna was literally a visual treat. We hardly get to see ‘Viriboni’, the famous Bhairaviatataala varna in a dance recital. But Nandini Eswer’s obsession for it made her compose dance for this composition. Nithyashri and Chinmayee breathed life into it with their energetic and effortless performance. They provided dance substance, with elan and competence. Daru is yet another rare item we see in a dance recital. Normally singer’s favourite Daru is Muthiah Bhagavatar’s ‘Maathe Malayadhwaje’ in Khamach. But Rohitha had chosen not so common Daru of the same composer in the raga Karnataka Kapi. The attractive choreography by Nandini Eswer came alive in Chinmayee and Nithyashri’s performance. Perfect understanding and harmony between them stood out in this piece. Chinmayee in her presentation of Padam (Yadukulakambodi-Subbarama Iyer) ‘Thamarasaaksha’ displayed matured abhinaya as sakhi, who conveys the virahavasthe of the nayika to Lord Rajagopala, the after effects of his arrival.
‘Saavirahetavadeena’, an ashtapadi of Jayadeva too had the same theme. But, the immersed Nithyashri brought out Radha’s anguish and passion alive as an intimate friend. The young dancers in a lively thillana (Ramnad Shrinivasa Iyengar-Raga-Faras) brought the curtain down. The co-operation of the singers and instrumentalist must be mentioned. Kudos to Vid. Rohitha Eswer and Vidu. Nandini Eswer for their utmost care in grooming the young dancers.
—Dr. Rama V. Bennur