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Inspired by tradition

Manjari Sinha |

The 12th edition of Sa Ma Pa Sangeet Sammelan, the annual festival of Sopori Academy of Music and Performing Arts, held at Kamani auditorium from 2-4 December, concluded with a scintillating Kathak performance by Guru Rajendra Gangani, the doyen of Jaipur Gharana of Kathak. His dance segment completed the Sangeet Sammelan with music in its entirety along with the Gayan (vocal music) by Pt Venkatesh Kumar, Pt Bholanath Mishra, Ud Wasifuddin Dagar, Malini Awasthi and Milan Upadhyay; Vadan (instrumental music) by Pt Bhajan Sopori and Abhay Sopori (Santoor), Gaurav Majumdar and Mahtab Niazi (Sitar), Ud Kamal Sabri (Sarangi) and Mahima Upadhyay  (Pakhawaj), the three constituents of music as mentioned in musical treatise “Gayan, Vadan tatha Nrityam/Trayam Sangeetam uchchyate”.
Pt Rajendra Gangani, accompanied by the pulsating percussions in Tabla by Fateh Singh Gangani and Pakhawaj by Rishi Kumar Upadhyay, presented the rare gems of  the Jaipur repertoire like the Ganesh Paran, Jhoolan Paran, Gat-Jodi paran to the Chhoot ki Uthan, Gat and Tihai et al that invariably came to the “Sam” like the flash of lightning.
The “Lehera” in the timely raga “Jog” created the inspiring ambience for the seasoned dancer to open his performance with the traditional “That” underlining “Khade hone ka andaaz”, the standing stance interspersed with the movement of a relaxed snake like “Sarpan Gati”, reaching the “Sam” with another stance, where the “Dora”, the neck and the eyebrows movements had the nuanced touch of a poetry. This was followed by the impressive “Uthan” and the famous “Ganesh Paran” as an invocation to Lord Ganesh, remover of obstacles, who bestows success in every creative endeavour.
The “Gat-Jodi Paran”, a rare composition by his Guru and father Pt Kundan Lal Gangani, inspired Fateh Singh Gangani to match its brilliance on Tabla and Rishi Kumar on Pakhawaj. The impromptu Sawal-Jawab compositions, comprising various “Dha”, played hide and seek with the rhythm of the 16 beats cycle of Teentala with utmost precision. The Chhoot ki Gat, Chhoot ki Paran and the Chhoot ki Tihai left the audience awestruck. He concluded his performance and the festival with an Abhinaya piece on a Tulsi Das Bhajan for Lord Rama “Pavan mand sugandh sheetal…”, interspersed with the technical excellence and the crisp footwork “Tatkar”, set to tala Rupak of seven beats cycle, a perfect finale to his brilliant Kathak recital.
Dr Shikha Nehru Sharma, the nutrition and weight management expert, surprised the audience with her debut Bharatanatyam performance at the Alliance Francaise auditorium this past weekend. The dance performance was a preface to her book launch, to prove the points she made in her book Health, Stress-management and Fitness via Bharatanatyam.  Dr Sharma realised by practical experience that “Bharatanatyam is the perfect antidote to stress, which helps achieve a state of inner balance and peace”.
She shares the benefits of Bharatanatyam in her book and explains how dancing to the intonation of Sanskrit Mantras and Shlokas, is like praying in motion. The foot-tapping movements are like acupressure that help to press all the points of the body connected to the feet. It also helps increase concentration power essential to dance.
Dr Sharma found that Bharatanatyam not only helped her manage stress but also improve concentration, memory, build flexibility and strengthen her spine and back. This improved her mind and body coordination and fitness levels and she discovered that it may have application in learning subjects like geometry and maths via the beats of rhythm. Dr Sharma decided to share her experience through her book Health, Stress-management and Fitness via Bharatnatyam, as she herself and her team are dedicated to spread health consciousness.