Celebrating Sankalp se Siddhi, the new India movement, the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) presented Rang Swadheenta, a four-day festival (20-23 August), showcasing the rich cultural traditions of Indian music, dance and drama from across the country, at the Meghdoot Auditorium. All the dance dramas presented at Rang Swadheenta, had the vibrant colours of freedom, like Veer Bharati in Kuchipudi style, presented by the Shambhavi School of Arts Bengaluru, directe d a n d c h o r e o – graphed by Vyjayanthi Kashi; Jhansi ki Rani in Odissi style by Ranjana Gauhar’s Odissi Dance Akademi, Delhi; Thang Ta and Dhol Cholam, Manipur, by the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academi, Imphal; a mime play and many other interesting performances like the AdiDhun, a vibrant folk ensemble from Odisha, Alha Gayan from UP, Togalu Gombeyaata shadow play from Karnataka, Powada folk ballad from Maharashtra and many more. The Rising was an invigorating dance theatre presentation by the Indian Revival Group, a premier dance ensemble founded way back in 1948 byYog Sunder Desai, a distinguished choreographer ranking among the pioneers and honoured with the SNA Award for his contribution t o t h e f i e l d o f d a n c e. Designed and directed by Yog Sundar and Papiha Desai, The Rising was, in fact, the rising of a nation, one of the biggest mass movements the contemporary society has ever seen, arousing millions of people of all classes and ideologies that inspired similar struggles in many countries of Asia and Africa. The extraordinary tale of India’s freedom struggle unfolded the unforgettable saga through actual film clips of that historic movement interspersed within t h e d a n c e – d ra m a . T h e thoughtfully-conceived presentation opening with “Vande Mataram…” had incorporated Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s immortal poem “Jhansi ki Rani…” and the poetic works of ‘Vallathol”, Rabindranath Tagore and Subramanya Bharati to name a few, in languages from Malayalam to Bangla and

T h e thoughtfully-conceived presentation opening with “Vande Mataram…” had incorporated Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s immortal poem “Jhansi ki Rani…” and the poetic works of ‘Vallathol”, Rabindranath Tagore and Subramanya Bharati to name a few, in languages from Malayalam to Bangla and many more. Papiha described “The Rising”, as a beautiful presentation of an extraordinary tale, which was a tribute to the forgotten heroes, the invincible people of India, the fearless leaders and the legend Mohandas Karamc h a n d Ga n d h i , a r m e d with the moral might of Satyagraha and Ahimsa. It was a real life story for the veteran director Yog Sunder Desai, who participated in the freedom movement along with his freedom-fighter parents, who led the masses of Gujarat under the guidance of Sardar Patel. The multimedia presentation was originally premiered at the Choreography Festival of SNA at Mumbai in 2009. The group is currently led by Papiha Desai, a multifaceted dancer and choreographer, who has c r e a t e d

The multimedia presentation was originally premiered at the Choreography Festival of SNA at Mumbai in 2009. The group is currently led by Papiha Desai, a multifaceted dancer and choreographer, who has c r e a t e d a r e m a r k a b l e body of choreographic w o r k s f o r t h e I n d i a n Revival Group presented globally. The Group is dedicated to the cause o f f u r t h e r i n g t h e r i c h multi-cultural heritage, which is the glory of India. Soulful solo Kathak The melodious Alap of the emotionally-appealing evening raga Yaman on Flute created the appropriate aura for the Meera bhajan “Mharo Pranam B

Soulful solo Kathak

The melodious Alap of the emotionally-appealing evening raga Yaman on Flute created the appropriate aura for the Meera bhajan “Mharo Pranam B solo Kathak The melodious Alap of the emotionally-appealing evening raga Yaman on Flute created the appropriate aura for the Meera bhajan “Mharo Pranam B an ke Bi hari ji…”, the opening invocation by t h e g r a c e f u l K a t h a k danseuse Divya Goswami in her solo Kathak performance at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre. One could literally see Meera and her enigmatic relation with her IshtaDevata, t h e p re – siding deity of the Banke Bihari temple at Vrindavan, that had left the poetess in a trance; in the passionate devotion of the totally involved dancer. Divya dancing to t h i s i m m o r t a l devotional song, reminded one of her Vedantic line a g e w i t h t h e enlightened mystic philosopher Sw a m i Ra m – teerth; that must have enriched t h i s yo u n g dancer with the kind of feel she communicated with her Sattvika Abhinaya. Deeply connected with the philosophical roots of our classical arts, Divya is groomed by Guru Munna Lal Shukla in the delicate nuances of Lucknow Gharana. A graded artiste of the Doordarshan, she has been awarded the coveted Ud Bi s m

A graded artiste of the Doordarshan, she has been awarded the coveted Ud Bi s m i l l a h K h a n Yu va Puraskar by the SNA. Her opening invocation was followed by the traditional repertoire of Kathak in Vilambit and Drut Teentala with the lntra forms like Thaat, Uthaan, Tode-Tukre, Paran, Chakradar Tihais et al. The stately stance of “Khade hone ka andaaz” in Thaat had the kind of sophistication and “Theheraav”, which is rare to find in these times of fast speed. Divya demonstrated admirable neatness and delicacy in whatever she presented even during the Shuddha Nritta segment, which also had the Tisra, Chatusra, Khand, Misra and Sankeerna variations of Chhand in her crisp footwork. The Miyan Malhar Bandish, “Aai ritu Sawan ki…”, adorned with the Gat-Nikas, had the delicate nuances of Abhinaya in the detailed depiction of the rainy season with thunder and lightning, the showers of rain or the swing, or Jhoola, for instance, had all the minute details like checking if the strings of the jhula were strong enough, then asking the friends to push it while swinging. This took her Solo Kathak to the concluding Bhairavi Tarana, where the Sahitya invoking Ragini Bhairavi had its detailed depiction by Divya, who had superb live orchestra with Shakil Ahmad on Tabla, Ghanshyam Sisodia on Sarangi, Kiran Kumar on Flute, Amrita Majumdar on Vocals and Jyotsna on Padhant. The meditative quality of Divya’s dance prevailed throughout her Kathak recital and made all the difference.