By Ayush Jain (LT MHPS)
An amalgamation of the classical dances of Mohiniyattam, Bharatnatyam & Kathak in a single event, is something very rare. Turns out, I was in luck when I witnessed such an event at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The event was organized by the Internation Academy of Mohiniyattam, where skills of the eminent dancers- Jayaprabha Menon, Justin McCarthy & Rajendra Gangani were on full display.
The evening began with the Mohiniyattam performance by Senior Fellowship awardee from the Department of Culture, Jayaprabha Menon. Seeking the blessings of Lord Vigneshwara, the performance began with Ganesh Stuti. The dance form did not involve extreme movement but the expressions were very distinct and a lot was conveyed through the dance postures and pronounced arm movements. The dance involved eclectic hand gestures & their synchronization with the facial expressions was just immaculate. The appreciative audience thoroughly enjoyed the subtle movements and a mesmerizing performance by the maestro.
Next up was the Bharatnatyam performance by the renowned dancer & instructor at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Justin McCarthy. Performing Kalidasa’ works, McCarthy portrayed Padams, a genre of love poetry yearning for the fulfilment of his life’s desires. Though the performance was slow initially, it gradually picked up the pace through beautiful mudras & visually engrossing dance moves. The performance received a standing ovation for stunning display by the Bharatnatyam exponent.
The evening concluded with a Kathak solo performed by Rajendra Gangani, know for his innovative style & technical expertise. He is a Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, the highest award given for performing arts in India. His performance depicted dance from the Jaipur Gharana in praise of Natraj. The dance was characterized by the Teen Taal footwork, consisting of swift feet movements and a rhythmic melody of Ghungroos or ankle bells echoed through the auditorium. The dance was fast paced, full of expressions and quick hand movements and was the most appreciated among all the performances.
The three performances made it a splendid evening, one which will be etched in memory. In case you get a chance to witness any of the three artists described, make sure you go to enjoy a visual treat for the senses.