– By GV Anna Rao
New Year’s Day at Shilparamam, Madhapur was celebrated with classical dance programs, including a Bharatanatyam recital by the students of Sahitya Ramkumar. Their first public debut program was well received by the large audience who were in a festive mood to usher in the New Year.
“Sahityakalpa” is the title of the Dance Academy presenting this well thought out program which demonstrated the skills of the young students. The costumes chosen were in blue which was understated with carefully chosen minimalistic style ornaments to lend a sober touch eschewing garish colours. Elegance and dignity were the hallmark of the Aharya and presentation.
Traditional Alarippu in Tisram was first. It is an invocation piece symbolizing the offering of respect to both God, the Guru and the audience. The intricate nritta or pure rhythmic piece uses various movements of the Head, Torso, Feet and Hands in varied speeds. The students aptly performed as to showcase their learning in its initial stages as this item is akin to the blooming of a Flower.
Ganesha Pancharatnam describes and salutes the magnificent form of Lord Ganesha, who is the remover of obstacles. He wears the digit of the Moon and a Modaka of joy in his hands. The Elephant-faced God is bowed down to in prayer. He is the destroyer of inner Demons and benevolent Master of his devotees. Inauspicious tendencies of those who surrender to him are quickly destroyed. The beautiful choreography by Guru Ramalinga Sastry was enacted with gusto and displayed the God’s form in the gestures of the dancers who elaborately portrayed the item.
The Kouthuvam is poetry in a short song which extols a particular Deity. Nachiyar Kouthuvam was presented in the Raaga Malayamarutham. This song describes the saint and consort of the Lord, the mystic poetess Andal who was found by Vishnu Chittar in a flower basket and brought up by him as his daughter. She is the author of poems praising Lord Ranganatha in exquisite imagery and pouring out her devotion in ornate but simple couplets filled with yearning for union with the Lord.
The touching story of the ‘Worn Garland’ – the legend of her wearing the flower garland before offering it to the idol of the Srirangam temple thus invoking the wrath of her father which is then pacified by the Lord’s sublime explanation of his desire for the offering only after it was used by her resulting in the merging of Andal with the Lord is well known. She is the only female Azhwar among the twelve Azhwars.
The jatiswaram was energetic, containing only music and no lyrical sequences or abhinaya i.e. emotional feelings. It is an execution of adavus-basic primary steps and mudras-hand gestures combined in definite groups. Hence it is a pure nritta piece where the dancer dances to the lyrical notes alone. The lilting Vasantha Jatiswaram which is in Roopaka Thalam is a traditional old school item of Kalakshetra origin. This rounded off the 45-minute long show and was indeed a tribute to the young Teacher’s meticulous grooming of her students which was evident in their well-rehearsed display of synchronization and poise including the precisely oriented pure dance. The six students who all deserved kudos were Risha Nandanwar, Pranya Ram, Sahruda, Aadhya Budala, Shyla Gupta and Maayra Singh.