Skilful, aesthetic and entertaining
With arresting imagery, Avigna offered an eclectic mix.
Photo: R. Shivaji Rao.
PERFECT TIMING: The dancers in stunning costume.
G. Narendra's `Avigna' has come a long way since it started out with a predominantly folk repertoire. Today the group offers precision-dominated choreographies back to back with narratives using an eclectic mix of slokas, bhajans, film songs, Christian hymns and western scores.
The target audience for the ensemble being the uninitiated, dance is simplified to its most popular derivative within the classical aesthetic. With his characteristic frankness, G. Narendra classified the repertoire of the Avigna group as skilful, aesthetic and entertaining. And he was right on all counts.
But navigating through the diverse presentations in `Moods and Movements,' one observed unevenness in the quality of choreography. While the rhythmscapes were invigorating pieces of sophisticated conceptualisation, the same standard did not apply to all the dramatisations.
The opening `Vishwa Vinayaka' with its well-timed entries, exits and its seemingly ad hoc movements laid the foundation for the deluge of visuals that was to follow. Narendra's choreography provided striking imagery through arrays of angular movements slicing through space.
The stillness within movement contrasted with splashes of colour and energy creating moments of sheer drama suspended in time. And these arresting moments were highlighted with simple yet artistic lighting design in hues of blues and yellows.
It would be appropriate at this juncture to mention the discipline of the 23 dancers since it was their timing and co-ordination that crystallised the imagery. But what grabbed the maximum attention was the stunning costuming designed by Mahalakshmi and Joy.
The music, some of them remixed to add a contemporary touch, was expressive enough to set the mood all on their own.
In fact in pieces like `Prabhuji daya karo' and `Lord Every Nation' it was the music and its solemnity that made all the difference. Yani's music re-christened as `Shanku' was a good experiment at marrying western music and classical adavus. In the same vein, the finale from Ilayaraja's `Thiruvasagam' reflected an amalgam of folk theme and modern choreography. But if there was a religious intent in the latter, it did not come through.
The biggest disappointments that evening were the visualisations of Jayadeva's `Chandana charchitha' and the Raas-Leela from ``Lagaan," that were too loud to be aesthetic. They might pass though in as entertainment.
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