Warm, delightful performance on a rainy day
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Warm, delightful performance on a rainy day

Articulate Festival, a every third Sunday of the month classical dance festival, dedicated its  27th series to Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji and to all those who are suffering from the natural calamity down south of India. A heartfelt prayers were said. The festival showcased four young artistes, curated by Mysore B. Nagaraj, on Aug.19, at Veene Seshanna Bhavana, Mysuru, despite the rains.

Vincent Paul presented three Bharatanatyam compositions, one of them pure abhinaya on Krishna and Yeshodha. The first was a Vinayaka Kaouthvam uniquely combined with salutations to the Mysore Kings, this was composed and performed by the famous Mysore Court Dancer Venkatlakshmamma, which Vincent brought back the almost lost repertoire of Mysore School of Bharatanatyam. Vincent concluded with an item that was punctuated with nrutta compositions while exploring the presence of the cosmic dancer Shiva within the heart of a devotee. It was the abhinaya item that was interesting.

Yashodha is trying to put child Krishna to sleep by narrating the story of Rama. Vincent fleetingly unfolded the drama of birth of Rama, of Seeta, their marriage, the exile to the forest. When at Panchavati, Rama finds Seeta missing, he shouts for Lakshmana to get his bow and arrow and while the narration of story is on, little Krishna jumps up and runs around shouting Soumithri, Lakshmana bring my Bow and Arrow. This perplexes Yashodha and wonders what happened to Krishna while little Krishna understands his previous birth and his instant reaction now.

Rakhi Kamani, in her Kuchipudi presentation, did two Keerthane and one Tillana in Sumanesharanjini Raga. Both keerthanes were in Samskrit while one was in Hamsadhwani and the other raga malika. The first was a Annamacharya Kruti while the second was that of Bellari Brothers. The first was obeisance to the Guru who would connect to the Lord Venkateshwara and the second focused on Lord Shiva. Rakhi flowed with her chosen repertoire of the evening with ease and grace.

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Sahana R. Maiya presented two Odissi numbers, one a pure nritta in Pallavi and other pure abhinaya on Krishna, Radha and her sakhi. The Malkouns Pallavi was elegant and appeared sculptures frozen in the niches of the Konark temple come alive. It was sahana’s abhinaya in the second part, that stole the attention of the rasikas. Sajani was the bridge to bring Krishna and Radha together. The depiction of desperate Krishna and angered Radha was done with such restrained gestures and movements, the prekshakas were now and then jolted with such pure satwika abhinaya.

Pradyumna Acharya, in Bharatanatyam performed a Ganesha Kouthvam and a Varnam on Rama. The Ganesha prayer was penned by Muthuswami Dikshitar and the varnam that expressed the agony of Rama was written by D.V. Prasanna Kumar. Pradyumna lived the character of Rama in pain when he found Seeta missing. The very imagery of Seeta haunted him painfully. His anticipation of  the arrival of Hanuman hoping to receive the news of well-being of Seeta was wonderfully portrayed. His geometrically precise Bharatanatyam movement was mercurial making him appear as a bundle of inexhaustible energy. He appeared as a new star born on the horizon of male dancers world.

The audience were spellbound by the performance of Pradhyumna, elated by the performance of Sahana while Rakhi’s and Vincent’s presentation was just fine.

The nearly houseful reverberated with fine artistry that evening though it was a mourning period by the loss of a great son of India and a sad day due to the floods in the Deccan peninsula.

August 27, 2018

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