UCPA Raises Devotional Pitch @ 2-Day Natyanjali Hyderabad

The Uttara Centre for Performing Arts (UCPA) recently organised a mega two-day Natyanajali Hyderabad, Dance in Diversity event at Sringeri Mutt, Nallakunta and Mini Shilparamam Uppal where talented dancers from various dance forms participated and won the hearts of the audiences. To see every dancer and each dance form separately is good, but what is a visual treat to the eye is when all dancers come together irrespective of their dance forms and perform in unison is a double bonanza. On the first day, at the Nallakunta temple, on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, the dancers performed Shiva Shadakshari Stothram as the finale. Each line of the stothram was performed in one dance style by the respective artists. On the second day, it was the reverse. The dancers opened their performance with Vande Maataram, where each line was performed in one dance style by the respective artists, which set the tempo for the evening at Mini Shilparamam Uppal. 

The hosts UCPA began the two-day event with salutations to Vallabeshamaashraye, led by their Guru Geetha Ganesan, ably supported by Navya Sravani, Subhanvitha, Dhruthika, Bhavika Reddy, Hasini, Nandini, Purvi and Nihira. This piece written by Samavedham Shanmukha Sarma garu on Lord Ganesha describes elephant-headed god’s birth and his qualities.


Kuchipudi dancers from Karnataka, Athira Sajeev and Sidhenda Chokilangam, in their first outing presented Lord Ganesha’s quest for knowledge, wealth and arts. In the composition set in Hamsanadam Ragam, Triputa talam Tisra gati, composed & choreographed by Natyacharya Dr Vasanth Kiran, the dancers explained Ganesha’s approach for Vidya to Vyasa Muni, and he becoming the tool to write the Mahabharata, Goddess Saraswati for music, Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and finally his mother Goddess Parvathy and Lord Shiva, who personally trains him in dance. The duo presented Harikeshanallur Muthaya Bhagavathar’s composition Sarasamukhi, in Kuchipudi Ragam Gouda Malhar, Adi Talam, where they describe the beauty of Chamundeshwari and killing of Mahishasura. This was followed by Tarangam, dancing on the brim of the brass plate, a speciality in Kuchipudi.

Kalamandalam Vaishnavi Mukundan presented Swathi Thirunal Padam, Panimathi mukhi bale, set in Ahiri Ragam and Misrachappu Talam, where the Mohiniyattam dancer beautifully explores the virahotkhanditha nayika, who is in deep pain as she cannot meet her hero Padmanabha and explains her grief to her sakhi. On the other hand, Shrushti Desakshi presented Baburaj Machattu’s composition Uttara Vilapam set in Ahir Ragam and Bhairavi Talam and choreographed by Gireesh Nadiwat and Mohanan Nilambur, wherein Uttara, wife of Abhimanyu, pleads to Lord Krishna to save her unborn child from the Brahmastra released by Ashwathama. Beautifully presented in the graceful Mohiniyattam style. 

Ameya and Jeetika

Bharatanatyam dancers Ameya Sameesh and Jeetika YS enthralled the audience with the presentation of Papanasam Sivan’s composition, Ananda Nadamidum Padan Keerthanam, on Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram, set in Aadi Thalam, and Kedara Gowla Ragam, where the dancers extoll the Lord’s handsomeness, wisdom, dance and the beauty of the silence during his meditation. In the second presentation, the dancers performed Dr. Vasanth Kiran’s composed and choreographed ‘Chitsabhesha’, a padavarnam in Bhairavi Ragamalika and Aadi Thalam, which portrayed the story of Tripuraasura Samharam and Gajasura Vadham. Ameya Sameesh and Jeetika elegantly depicted the interwoven swaras and sahithya and the fast-moving adavus in the jathi, including the Saptatandava of Lord Shiva. 

Kathak dancers Shraddha Mukhade and Shreya Kulkarni started their evening’s Shivaratri performance with a Dhrupad composition choreographed by their guru Shama Bhate in Jhap Taal and Darbari Raag. Dhrupad, an oldest form of classical music, popularised by Dagar Bandhu, Gundecha brothers etc. In the second presentation, the dancers presented Drut Teentaal which had Korwais, Tukde, Ginti, Chakkar Ke Bol, etc. in Taal Teentaal (16 beats) Drut lay.

Shraddha and Shreya

In Odissi, Mumpi Das performed Mangalacharan, beginning with Sirsha Jata, a Shiva Vandana, in Madhubanti Raag and Ekatali. This was a piece choreographed by Padma Shri Guru Sanjukta Panigrahi. Mangalacharan is an expressive composition expressing prayer to Lord Jagannath, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, and other deities. Her other presentation was a pure nritta, Megh Pallavi in Raag-Megh, Jhampa Taal and choreographed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra. Mumpi gracefully exhibited eye movements, body postures and intricate footwork. 

The UCPA leaves no stone unturned in bringing many dance forms to the city, this year Geeta Ganeshan invited Chhau artist Laxmidhar Ghunia, who presented Natraj, Shiv Tandav, containing the main nuances of Chhau Dance which are the jumps, turns, etc. 

Mumpi Das

On the second day at Mini Shilparamam Uppal, Odissi dancer Mumpi Das began her presentation with Mangalacharanam of Sirsha Jata, and Megh Pallavi, while Kathak dancers Shraddha Mukhade and Shreya Kulkarni presented Krishna Vandana in Dhrupad, choreographed by their guru Shama Bhate. Their other presentations were Chaturang, a unique combination of four elements – Tarana, Sahitya (literature), Sargam, Nrita ke bol (bols of dance) in Raag Des and Ektaal, and Tarana, on Shiva Shakti- masculine power of Shiva and feminine power of Shakti, the lasya part, in Raag Yaman and Teentaal. Chhau dancer Laxmidhar Ghunia captivated the audience by his Shiv Tandav. 

Bharatanatyam dancers, Ameya Sameesh and Jeetika, too presented Chitsabheshidu Padavarnam and Rama keerthanam, Enthani nee Guna ganamu in Kedaragowla Raagam, composed and choreographed by Dr Vasanth Kiran. Through the keerthanam, the dancers took the audience through the story of Sabari, a Rama devotee, who attains moksha after she sees Rama and few other pages from Ramayana like Ahalya Shapa Moksham, Bali Sugreev Yudham and Lanka Dahanam. It was a pleasant devotional journey for the audiences.

Vaishnavi Mukundan

Kalamandalam Vaishnavi Mukundan presented Saraswati cholkettu, the first item in Mohiniyattam recital, which gives importance to Nritha aspect, in Ragamalika comprising three ragas and three different talas. Athira Sajeev, Ameya Sameesh and Jeetika presented Sri Narayana Theertha’s Shiva Tarangam in Ragamalika and Adi Talam, choreographed by Dr Vasanth Kiran. Tharangams are songs taken from Sri Krishna Leela, but the dancers presented Shiva Tarangam, beginning with Navarasa sloka of Lord Shiva, including the Sanchari of Kailasodhanam in which Ravana tries to lift the Kailasa Parvat.

The highlight of the evening at Uppal were dancers Athira Sajeev and Vaishnavi Mukundan’s Thalike set in Ragamalika and Talamalika choreographed by Natyacharya Dr. Vasanth Kiran in praise of Bala Tripura Sundari of Kuchipudi village. This composition also included a part of Bhamakalapam Pravesa Daruvu by Sri Sidhendra Yogi, part of a Kshetrayya Padam, and a part of Tarangam by Sri Narayana Theertha as these are the important compositions in Kuchipudi. The composition ends with ‘Salaamu’, which shows gratitude to the king Abul Hasan Qutb Tanishah, then King of Golkonda, who gave 600 acres of land to the Kuchipudi dancers which is the Kuchipudi village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Both the dancers beautifully brought out every detail of the composition so intrinsically which were a visual feast and treat for the rasikas on a Sunday evening.

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