Class for a cause
ALL GRACE Geeta Chandran performing at the Belgian Embassy's lawns in New Delhi
Different from the stereotypical architectural landmarks, the Belgian Embassy building, a creation of our own sculptor, painter and architect, et al, Satish Gujral, opens out to inner spaces, which are the delight of a performing artiste. And this past week, on its spacious lawns was a Bharatanatyam performance by Geeta Chandran and her Natya Vriksha Dance Company, the event marking the philanthropic act of the Belgian Business Association, which since its inception in the December 1999 has engaged in a yearly fund-raising event to donate to a needy cause.
This year's charity act was for Don Bosco Ashalayam, working today at rehabilitating over 1500 street children by providing shelter and de-addiction programmes along with vocational and non-formal education.
Geeta Chandran's slick presentation began in a wonderful ambience with Sringara, a solo item celebrating love and Nature and the awakening of the senses. Turned out in a flattering designer outfit, the dancer's quiet rapture (dancing without ankle bells) was to recorded music heralded by a fitting alap prelude by one of the well-known, ardent Belgian Dhrupad performers Philippee Falisse, Attache Counsellor at the Embassy.
The revelation of the evening turned out to be Sharanya Chandran in the Siva/Nataraja dance based on Pottaneri Subramanyam's composition, the singing in Hamsadhwani by O.S. Arun, even in a recorded version exuding special verve.
A far cry from the stiff and self-conscious dancer during her Aragetram a few years ago, Sharanya has blossomed into a poised dancer with neat lines and cleanly held poses.
Geeta's own dance interpretation of the Goddess set to the "Aigiri Nandini" chant communicated both the benevolent and the evil-destroying power of the Devi. Specially dear to the foreign audience was the group finale on the Seasons choreographed to selected segments taken from Tchaikovsky's music. Put together with care, Geeta's excellently rehearsed students did Natya Vriksha proud.
Keeping the choreography simple and uncluttered, the total effect relied more on disciplined cluster and group imagery.
Lighting was sensitive and Rajiv Chandran's to-the-point compering underlined the contemporary message in each concept and myth treated in the recital.
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