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Kavipranam: When performing arts meet literature

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Students of dancer Sathyanarayana Raju performing at Kavipranam.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In classical dance presentations, it is not rare that poetry gets submerged in the glitter of costume, lighting and sets. ‘Kavipranam’ was an effort to celebrate the works of master poets from different languages, whose works were presented by dancers from various classical styles. The event was organised by Kimaham Academy of Kuchipudi at Seva Sadan, Bengaluru. The programme was also unique as it predominantly featured male dancers.

Chintan Patel, an alumnus of Kalakshetra and artistic director of Tejas Dance, Dallas, presented the popular Karaharapriya padavarnam ‘Mohamaginen inda velayil’ by Dandayudhapani Pillai. Chintan’s abhinaya was sincere as he depicted the emotions of a love-smitten nayika and her reverence for Nataraja, who dances at the golden hall in Chidambaram. His sprightly movements for the jathis in the second line of the pallavi were remarkably variant. However, the arudis were repetitive and stale. In the third line ‘Yoga mighum ambalam thannil natanam adum vahan’, the dancer sketched the grandeur of Nataraja’s dance. The second half of the varnam too stood out for the choreography and execution.

Hari and Chethana of Noopur Performing Arts Center in Bengaluru, and group.

Hari and Chethana of Noopur Performing Arts Center in Bengaluru, and group.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

High on energy

Dancer and choreographer, Avijit Das, another Bharatanatyam alumnus of Kalakshetra, has now made Kuchipudi his forte, having trained at Vempati Chinasatyam’s Kuchipudi Art Academy. His high energy, strong footwork and technique were evident in the pure dance segments of Annamacharya namavali, which he presented with his students Sweta Prasanna and Madhulita. They supported him well in the sancharis of Vamana avatara and Draupadi’s humiliation in the kurusabha. Earlier, Avijit presented ‘Abhinaya Vibhava pranama vidhi ithi’ from Natyarambham section in the Natyashastra, with lines translated into Telugu by Venkatanarayana Murthy. The dancer also portrayed ‘soushtavam’, the ideal posture and stances, eye movements and karanas integral to dance. The music for the piece was composed by Rajkumar Bharati.

Dancer and choreographer, Avijit Das.

Dancer and choreographer, Avijit Das.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Popular Kathak couple Hari and Chethana of Noopur Performing Arts Center in Bengaluru, made an impact with a dramatic opening. The piece was titled ‘Jeevo jeevasya jeevanam’ that had Kannada verses from the work of K.S. Narasimha Swamy.

The opening line of the poem spoke of darkness which marked the beginning of universe. With the line ‘Nanne kavithe’, the poet says ‘no matter how others connect, my poetry is singularly mine’. The mystique in these abstract themes was presented with finesse and restraint. The verve and grace of Kathak movements combined with the lilting music, composed by Raghunandan Ramakrishna, elevated the mood in the poem. Pure dance sequences dominated the third line which said, ‘Don’t stand still, step into the light. Move from silence to speech.’ The nritta was never overpowering and retained the gravitas in the poetry. Hari and Chethana were supported in dance by Diya, Sirisha, Varuni and Nidhika.

Veteran Bharatanatyam dancer Sathyanarayana Raju’s students presented the Ramayana Ragamalika ‘Bhavayami raghuramam’ by Swati Tirunal. The choreography to the swaras and jathis stood out for variety in movement and rhythm. However, the lines were merely presented with pada abhinaya and possibilities for sancharis were never once explored, considering the entire Ramayana story is encapsulated in the poem.

The event yet again was testimony to the fact that the vast Indian linguistic wealth can be effectively adapted to classical music and dance.

The reviewer is an independent journalist.



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