Thursday 24 November 2016

Holding a legacy aloft - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

 The story goes that the virtuoso dancer Uday Shankar -- a debutante in London in the 1920s -- was presented, one evening, a Nataraja sculpture. Awestruck by the statuette and gazing intently upon the figure, he could not sleep the whole night. By the time the first sunrays struck the London mist, the insomniac artiste began getting the vibes into his dancer’s limbs: the body-dynamics that could possibly lead on to the divine stance and the aesthetic gestures that could flow out from it. The early Shankar was like that: a complete natural, honed more by Indian iconography and Rajput miniatures, and drawing sustenance from intuition and exposure, than ever groomed by a hard-core training regimen.

Sabari, a dance-drama premiered recently by Udayan Kala Kendra, the dance institution of Mamata Shankar Dance Company from Kolkata, was a handiwork that used the best of the Shankar ethos under the competent scripting, choreography, costumes and direction of his gifted daughter, Mamata Shankar. 

Amritasya Putra, presented by the same troupe on the following evening, was based on an abstract theme this time, while still using instrumental music. Again conceived and directed by Mamata Shankar in her father’s footsteps, the dance-drama was unfolded in a few stages.

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