The two dance evenings being reviewed this week ~ Sakhi by the Vyuti Dance Company of Aranyani Bhargav and the Odissi Sandhya by the Nrityantar Dance Ensemble of Madhulita Mohapatra from Bangalore, presented at the Shri Ram Centre and the Stein auditorium of the Habitat Centre respectively ~ brought a breeze of freshness.
The Delhi premiere of Sakhi proved that tradition and innovation are not antonyms and a creative dancer/choreographer could reinvent and redefine one’s craft, to weave in innovative ideas while being rooted in tradition.
Aranyani and the agile dancers of her Vyuti Dance Company proved this point beyond measure. The traditional Margam,or repertoire of a Bharatanatyam recital from Alarippu, Varnam to Tillala, was dealt in a delightfully different way, as if showcasing beauty as defined in the Sanskrit shloka, “Kshane kshane yannavatamupaiti/ Tadeva roopam ramaniyatayah (Beauty is, what feels new every moment)”.
One could savour this newness right from the opening Natyarambha, preceded by the invocatory “Angikam bhuvanam…”, where the solo Alarippu was performed by three dancers Aranyani, Preeja Mahendran and Sanjana Prasad, interlocked together as one.
Faithfully adhering to the traditional technique of the conventional Alarippu, this Alarippu (trio) in Misra Chapu talam was really remarkable. Imaginatively conceived and choreographed by Aranyani, Sakhi celebrated the eternal friendship between the Nayika and her confidante Sakhi.
Performed by the group in pairs of Nayika and Sakhi, incorporating various types of heroines such as Swadhinpatika, Virahotkanthita, Vipralabdha, Kalahantarita, Khandita, Vasaksajjita and Abhisarika Nayikas, where the Sakhi was always there to share, console, comfort, empathise and reassure, this was indeed an engaging piece with the detailed treatment of a full-fledged Varnam.
Concluding with the scintillating Revathi Thillana, performed by Aranyani, Atmica, Preeja, Priya, Sanjana, Shruti and Tony Aloysius, the delightful dance evening left the audience enthralled. Melodious music by the gifted vocalist and composer Sudha Raghuraman, for instance, using just the sound of the tuneful Tanpura in between, or choosing a particular raga for a particular Nayika, like Chandrakauns for Vipralabdha, enhanced the beauty of dance.
Odissi Nritya Sandhya, presented by Madhulita Mohapatra and her Nrityantar Dance Ensemble at the Stein auditorium, was a visual delight. Groomed under gurus like Gangadhar Pradhan, Aruna Mohanty and Krishna Chandra Sahu, Madhulita has acquired a distinctive style marked with grace.
A graded artiste of Doordarshan and an empanelled artiste of the ICCR, Madhulita and her Nrityantar Dance Ensemble have performed for prestigious dance festivals at home and abroad. The Odissi Nritya Sandhya left its mark on Delhi dance lovers from the very beginning when they opened with Shivam Dhimahi, invoking Nataraja, the Lord of Dance.
The aggressive Tandava of Shiva was brought alive with the bold Chauka of the male dancer and the authentic Tribhangis of the female dancers, aesthetically choreographed by Madhulita, incorporating the impressive “Shabda-Swara- Path”, inputs by Nityananda Mishra, enhanced by the rhythmic compositions of Guru Dhaneswar Swain and music by Sukanta Kundu.
The Jayadeva Ashtapadi “Harirabhisarati…” from Geeta- Govinda, presented as a solo Abhinaya piece by Madhulita, brought out the essence of the divine love of Radha Krishna. Madhulita would turn into Manini Radha one moment and the teasing Krishna or the Sakhithe next, who would plead with her to leave her pride and meet Krishna, depicting the florafauna and the fragrant breeze and telling her “Oh Radha, there is no greater pleasure than meeting Madhava.”
It was a lovely choreography by Guru Aruna Mohanty, enhanced by music in raga Saveri set to Ektali by Subas Pani. The group performance Malkauns Pallavi brought a vibrant contrast after this slow-moving Ashtapadi. Music by Bijay Kumar Jena and rhythmic composition by Bijay Kumar Barik inspired the well-trained dancers to excel.
The Oriya Pada “Bajuchhi sahi bajare…” next, was a dynamic duet by Madhulita, depicting the scandalous love affair of Radha-Krishna, which has become the talk of the town. The concluding group choreography on the Devaranama “Hari smarane…” in praise of Vishnu, brought the Odissi Nritya Sandhya to its sublime climax.
The meditative musical composition of Purandaradasa incorporated mythological episodes like the Gajendra Moksha, Bhakta Prahlad and Hiranyakashipuand the Draupadi Cheer Haran, with its convincing depiction in the captivating choreography by Madhulita Mohapatra.