By: Mr. Ayush Jain (LT MHPS)
India has a rich cultural heritage, endowed with most eclectic and beautiful of dance forms. Whether it be the fast-paced Kathak or the dramatic Kuchipudi, India’s classical dance forms are all magnificent or in other words- a form of nectar for the eyes.
I was witness to one such performance in the recent past. Termed “Santvani”, the dance event was held at the Stein Auditorium of the India Habitat Centre where a distinguished audience was treated to an enthralling performance of the Indian classical dances.
The evening began with the depiction of the mystic poetess and Krishna devotee, Meera (Meera Bai) through the dance form of Kathak performed by a budding dancer by the name of Shipra Joshi. This devotion was depicted through rhythmic circular movement patterns accompanied by flat fleet tapping at a mind boggling tempo. What was extraordinary was the fact that the energy was unending, it did not dip anytime during the performance which lasted well in excess of 25 minutes. Such movements were lauded by an appreciative audience which was held spellbound for the entire duration.
This was followed by a mesmerizing performance of Odissi on Tulsidasa by the accomplished dancer Sharmila Mukherjee. This performance was highlighted by intricate and artful body postures which were fascinating to the eyes and a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of India and its classical dances.
The evening progressed with an intriguing display of Bharatanatyam on Kanakadasa (poet, philosopher and musician from Karnataka in the 1500s) by a talented dancer by the name of Arupa Lahiry. A hypnotizing dance performance depicting the devotion of Kanakadasa towards Lord Krishna, imploring the Lord to give Darshan at Udupi as the doors to the temple are closed. Kanakadasa is asking for an opportunity to serve the Lord. The desperation of Kanakadasa was aptly painted on the stage by the dance which was punctuated by elegant Mudras and an array of facial expressions. One can only hope to convey so much without even a single syllable being spoken.
The final performance of the evening was a display of the ever alluring dance form of Kuchipudi performed by T. Reddy Lakshmi on Tukaram (17th Century poet and saint from Maharashtra). Beautiful lifts and a pleasing perkiness were the highlights of this performance. The theme being portrayed was the praise of Tukaram for the beautiful form of Lord Vishnu’s avatar, Vitthala and the realization of the correct path of life in serving his parents.
And finally came the encore with all the four proficient and skillful dancers combining the four classical forms for an entrancing finale.
It’s rare to come across such magnificent and exquisite displays of a variety of the Indian classical dance forms. I highly recommend to visit similar events if one gets a chance to witness such a spectacle.