Sanskriti Foundation and the India International Centre (IIC) jointly presented a Kuchipudi dance recital at the IIC auditorium by Amrita Lahiri, the brilliant young dancer from Chennai, who is a recipient of the Sanskriti-Madhobi Chatterji Memorial Fellowship. This Fellowship in Indian classical music and dance was instituted under the aegis of Sanskriti Foundation in memory of late Madhobi Chatterji, by her daughter Purobi Mukharji with the aim to encourage and support promising young artistes.  One of the foremost young dancers of Kuchipudi, Amrita was refreshingly different with her vivacious stage presence, unwavering stamina and refined aesthetic sense, the signature touch of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, right from the opening Natesha Kautuvam set to Adi Talam in raga Hansadhwani.  Next, Usha Parinayam, taught by Swapna Sundari, was equivalent to a Bharatanatyam Varnam with the detailed elaboration of the well-known mythological story taken from the Yakshagana dance-drama tradition composed in a melodious Ragamalika, comprising Sankarabharanam, Anand-Bhairavi, Kharaharapriya and Kapi ragas, set to Adi Talam. The melodious Alap on Flute in Raga Brindavani Sarang by Raghu, was the perfect preface to the Hindi song “Chaliye Kunjanamo…”, composed by Swathi Thirunal in the same raga. “Sakhi Prana…”, the Telugu Javali, composed by Dharmapuri Subbarayar, brought out her Abhinaya ability once again, depicting the dejected Nayika complaining to her Sakhi (friend) about the changed attitude of her beloved, before Amrita concluded her brilliant recital with Durga Tarangam, the trademark piece of Kuchipudi, the dance on plate in praise of goddess Durga. 

Devadasi — the Eternal Dancer, a Bharatanatyam performance, was presented by Jyotsna Shourie&’s Dance Society, at the Stein Auditorium in India Habitat Centre. Deeply researched, conceptualised, scripted and choreographed by Jyotsna with music by O S Arun and Sudha Raghuraman, this new production of the Jyotsna Shourie Dance Society broke all the previous records of their well-attended programmes. The huge Stein Auditorium was unable to manage the overflowing audience this evening.  This was a very sensitively dealt story of Devadasis, who were often misunderstood and maligned dancers. The riveting production underlined the fact that without them and their pioneering spirit, the art of Sadir, later named Bharatanatyam, would have perished for ever. This praiseworthy production gave an upbeat interpretation of their lives and times, incorporating the hidden talent of Jyotsna herself and all her disciples of different age groups. 

 Opening with an invocation by her students, this was the riveting story of a Devadasi, who is supposed to be “Nitya-Sumangali”, the fortunate one. Offered to the deities of a temple, she is ritualistically given the ankle bells and is properly groomed in the performing arts like music and dance right from her childhood.  Jyotsna, elegantly clad in a silk sari, introduced “Devadasi — the Eternal Dancer” and appeared in between the dance sequences, in attractive dance movements, to carry forward the storyline like a Sutradhar.  The well-conceived script had excerpts from the Shiva-Purana to the popular “Natanam Adinar”, from Kanduk-Kreeda to Swara-Jati and sequences like a sculptor carving sculptures out of stone that come alive in his dreams and disappear into the statues he had already carved, when he wakes up, were very well choreographed by Jyotsna, who deserves kudos for Devadasi, her sensitively-crafted production.  

Interface-2016, was the annual contemporary dance feast offered at the Stein Auditorium of the Habitat Centre, by the Kolkata-based Sapphire Creations of Sudarshan Chakraborty. The two-day festival opened with “Ekonamah: The Beginning at the End”, presented by Sapphire Creations Dance Company. It was conceived and choreographed by Sudarshan with guest choreographer Selcuk Goldere from Turkey. 

 The Khambatta Dance Company, Seattle, US, presented Casualties of Fate and Truth and Betrayal, a contemporary dance production choreographed by Cyrus Khambatta as predominant duets of athletic force, as if the dancers wish to pummel the truth out of each other. The piece dissected the moment of betrayal too. 

DPAC Dance Company from Malaysia presented After Dark, a contemporary dance creation under the guidance and direction of Artistic Director, Wong Jyh Shyong. The premiere of After Dark in Malaysia this year was nominated for the best Choreographer in A Mixed Bill and also received the best Light Design and best Music and Sound Design Award. The production received loud applause at Interface-2016 in Delhi too.