by N K MUDGAL
Although the ‘Nritya Sangam’, a programme of dances purported to present a fusion in three different classical styles did provide a few glimpses of amity in these styles, as a whole it was more remarkable for the expressional acumen of the three danseuses who participated in it. Organized by the Mayadhar School of Odissi at the India International Centre on April 24, the ‘Nritya Sangam’ saw the engaging depiction of the ‘navrasas’, the nine sentiments identified by the Indian aesthetes as the basic emotions to be expressed through various genres of art and literature, including dance, by Madhumita Raut, Geetanjali Lal and Lata Singh in the their respective disciplines, that is Odissi, Kathak and Bharatanatyam.
The opening Pushpanjali by the trio did show a good understanding of each other’s movements and rhythms to present a well knit, though brief creation of group choreography. They also endeavored to do some pure dance item from an alien style. Geetanjali Lal putting her teen taal expertise to dance a spirited Bharatanatyam Jatiswaram, Lata Singh also did some justice to the Odissi Pallavi, while Madhumita danced the Kathak Tarana as much as the languorous Odissi movement did allow her with the ta thei tat thei beats.
The pure dance segment did indicate at the basically common taal structure of the Indian classical dance styles but it was the navarasa abhinaya which emphatically proved that all the styles whether from north, east or south have the same all pervading soul, called the rasa. Lata Singh’s depiction of the ‘vatsalya’ and ‘adbhut’ in portraying mother Kausalya’s love for child Rama and her expression of wonder on seeing the whole universe in his mouth was impressive but a good dancer from any other style would have expressed it the same way.
The ‘shringar’ portrayed by Madhumita Raut who had selected all the episodes from the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas in the Pushpvatika Prasang was spontaneous as well as powerful in the expression of lines ‘take nain Rahghupati chhavi dekhe’. Her style as well as person is meant for the shringer. The portrayal of Shurpankha’s infatuation for Rama and Laxman had the most delicate sattvik abhinaya and chalis one ever saw in Odissi. Her depiction for Karun (pathos in Laxman Moorccha) was convincing as was Lata Singh’s Raudra (ferocious) in the Parashuram episode.
The one sentiment that Indian classical dances fail to present concingly is ‘Hasya (Humour). But Geetanjali Lal did provide some tickling moments to the audience with her presentation of the Sita Swayamvar episode.
The music was composed by Bankim Sethi and he himself and Ilangovan provided the vocal support.P. Vetri Bhupati on the mridangam, Prafulla Mangoraj on the Pakhavaj and Ghulam Sabri on table handled the percussion, while Rajkishore Dalbeher and Subroto Dey played flute and sitar.
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