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Brilliant choreography

Sai Nritya Utsav 17 threw up some very good young dancers, and some who could do very well with more research


Practise and perseverance Vipina's performance showed a good combination of both

Sai Nritya Utsava 17, with a brilliant backdrop of a Theiyyam dancer, gave an aesthetic and grand opening with a Mohiniyattam recital by Vipina Ramachandran.

Senior-most disciple of Chennai-based Mohiniyattam danseuse Gopika Verma, this young petite dancer has mastered the technique of mukhabhinaya.

Commencing her recital with “OmKara Karini” a composition by Dr. Balamurali Krishnan, with the dance layout by Gopika Verma, set to Raag Lavanki and adi tala, exhibiting the attributes of Devi as a Mother Goddess, with her fearful traits while demolishing Mahisasura, one must curtsy the brilliant choreography by Vipina. The opening of the Astapadi with a typical Vaittari congruous to the Kerala tala system “Tam tari ka ta” added brilliance to the execution of “Lalitha Labangalatha” in the Mohiniyattam genre.

One must appreciate the adaptability of the Kathakali technique of abhinaya apposite for the said form and executing the same brilliantly. The dancer concluded the recital with the famous Swati Tiranal's Dhanashree Thillana set to adi tala choreographed by Gopika.

Above all, the clarity of well recorded music with clear demarcation of the usage of edakkya with that of mridanga and the maddalam along with the vocalist's awesome voice rendition added to the overall effect of the performance.

For a dancer carrying the legacy of their Gurus needs to be voiced for the next artist Aparna Vinod. One must request the organiser to have a quality check in place during artist selection with the gradual faming of Sai Nritya Utsava nationally and internationally. Lack of practice and no knowledge on the artistry of abhinaya marked the artist from the beginning item “Poorvaranga Bidhi”. Unable to internalise emotions, making preposterous faces during the padam “Aryagum Adagadani” need to be worked upon under proper tutelage of her gurus.

Sai Venkatesh is instrumental in featuring good choreographing works of young upcoming artists. Chetan Gangatkar's “Rudraksha” attempting to be inspired by various folk and folk theatre forms from South India suffered tremendous technical mistakes. Though a good thought provoking attempt trying to incorporate theatrical elements in dance, the Yakshagana episode remained as a standalone piece for the choreographer to fetch marks with beautiful execution of Ganesha's invocation. The choreographer should have undertaken proper research pertaining to Kerala's own folk form Theiyyam and Mohiniyattam before integrating the same.

Incorrect use of the genres of both the forms, coupled with the usage of a Yakshagana Chendae instead of Kerala's Chenda during the character portrayal of Bhagavati through Theiyyam, marred the overall effect of the performance.

Parshwanath Upadhya and Rukmini Vijaykumar followed next. Good research of items like Swaraguccha paying obeisance to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Saraswati, penned by Shatavadhani R. Ganesh marked a brilliant start.

Though Parshwanath is comparatively better, making his mark with good stretches, yet debarring oneself from wearing some of the traditional aharya of Bharatnatya, which is in no way concomitant to the genus, comical gestures towards the concluding section of Shankarabharanam describing Shiva's ornaments and his ardhanarishwara attribute by both the dancers, lack of proper abhinaya in Rukmini and tremendous lengthy items overlapping the concluding artist's time schedule need to be pondered.

The concluding section of the entire festival was a delightful presentation of Odissi by two disciples of Odissi danceause Devjani Sen. Both the students Vandana and Meghana initially trained in Nritya Gram and presently continuing their training under Devjani, commenced their recital with Mangalacharan as an invocation to Lord Ganesha. Good synchronisation and choreography by Devjani set the standard for the dancers from the beginning.

Moving onto a pallavi set in raag Vasanth in Ek talli, one must genuflect these two young dancers' assiduous effort in bringing out neat execution of the chowks and tribhangis with good synchronised movements; yet lack of balance at times of Meghana especially while circumnavigating keeping right feet as the pivot or in drawing sculpturesque poses so concomitant to Odissi and incorrect eye movements of Vandana not according to the pakhawaj, need to be concentrated. Good proscenium usage in Botu – a pure dance number set to raag Kalyani in Ek Taali in praise of Lord Shiva by both the dancers had good recorded music, and gave a brilliant effect and concluded with the traditional Moksha.


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