Sculptures come alive
Madhavi Mudgal ... delicate movements.
IF SERENITY and grace had a name it would have to be Madhavi Mudgal who performed to meagre audiences at the Krishna Gana Sabha on December 11. As usual the incense and ambience at this hall heralded the December festival but there were few that day to enjoy his yearly forum showcasing some of the best talent in dance.
That did not however throw a damper on the Odissi recital that was an exercise in tasteful and gracious display of the dance form from Orissa.
A senior disciple of the master, Kelucharan Mohapatra, Madhavi brought out the relationship between dance and sculpture with delicate movements tranquilising the audience right from the Mangalacharan that was an invocation to Lord Siva. The piece taken from the Sangitaratnakara, a 13th century literary work, highlights the union of the deity with Parvati asking for cosmic harmony and balance. With melodious music composed by Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Madhavi brought a lyrical tempo replete with the tribhangi integrating music and movements with gentle agility.
Soft visual appeal
In the Pallavi in raga Chaya Nat, Triputa Tal, more pure dance movements highlighted the possibilities of what music can achieve along with nritta. Though emphasis is on the nritta, the fluidity of the art form pervades to give a soft visual appeal. The popular Ashtapadis by Jayadeva that Madhavi took up are two of the most intense pieces in the work - ``Priye Charushile" and ``Yahi Madhava Yahi Keshava." Here Radha has to accept that her Madhava could have spent the night with other women. And no matter what Krishna says she is not going to be appeased. And then when he realises that Radha is so upset he does his best to cajole and earn her forgiveness. It is amazing how the same piece has been worked out in different forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak and still achieves uniqueness as did Madhavi with just a quiet roll of her eyes or a lift of the hand to wave Krishna away. The music composed by Pt. Bhubaneshwar Mishra was sung beautifully in parts by Manikuntala Bhowmik except when she had to scale the higher notes.
However the Pallavi in Jhinjhoti, Tal Khemta had the best visual appeal as the piece highlighted the use of fast footwork within the musical spaces.
With music by Madhup Mudgal, Madhavi's movements sought to bring the sculptures of the temples to life with poses and stances that soothed and pleased.
Like the Moksha that is every spiritual person's goal the concluding piece sought to encapsulate the entire evening's mood into an item that with its tempo and feel worked on the aesthetic senses of both the dancer and the audiences. When the dancer and the dance merged and when the music and body merged there was a stillness that came about despite movements. Harmony came about even as the chants from the Vedas rang out and the dancer sank in gratitude for it all. Accompanying Madhavi in her recital were Gandhi Malik (pakhavaj), Srinivas Satpathy (flute), Yaar Mohammad (sitar).
The dance drama as we know it always has its appeal thanks to the profusion of colour, drama, dance and musical interludes that allow viewers to enjoy at different levels. Something Ganesh Natyalaya achieved though Saroja Vaidyanathan and disciples in the production Pradosham on December 14. The story of the devas and asuras fighting for the nectar rising from the milky ocean, is a dramatic enough tale fascinating dancers and actors alike.
When danced the story appeared to acquire a life of its own with uniformly good performances with a few showing great propensity for making a terrific impact. Right from the first few scenes that displayed the agony of the devas because of the atrocities committed by the asuras to the appealing to Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva to do something to check the demons, the dancers did not let the flow sag or pall.
The churning of the ocean and the emerging celestial beings like the Iravatham, Kamadenu the Kalpavriksha for instance, were well done. Particularly impressive were Deepika Gupta who danced as Nandi and Anuradha Venkatraman as Siva whose dancing transcended the role and emerged as a well coordinated amalgam of drama and body language.
The music by Mohan Vaidya filled with elaborate orchestration and sound patterns was in the mould of populist efforts but blended very well with the visuals on stage.
Lights and effects by Kumar gave colour and mood to the story choreography and direction by Saroja Vaidyanathan and Pradosham turned out to be a good entertainer for the enthralled audience that day.
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