Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Unexpected Odissi bonuses - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman


Considerable time has passed since one saw Jyoti Srivastava in a full- fledged solo Odissi performance, which is why her recital devoted purely to abhinaya, at SNA’s Meghdoot III theatre for an event featuring one senior and one junior dancer, was pleasantly surprising! Always known for her abhinaya, her centre-piece of interpretation of the eight nayikas, all strung to Oriya lyrics, was a welcome change from the routine recitals.  After the Mangalacharan with Krishna Stuti, came the Ashta-nayikas, the lyrics comprising music by Ramhari Das with rhythmic punctuations conceived by Dhaneswar Swain. The sensitively conceived dance composition was by Guru Durgacharan Ranbir. In the typical Debaprasad Das approach to Odissi, the dance was bereft of an overdose of elaborations or sancharis. But the less embroidered version, when performed with intensity, was very persuasive..... 

Seeing the glossy printed pamphlet on Swapna Rani Sinha, one wondered how a dancer who is mentioned as having achieved so much is not even known in Delhi. This disciple of Durga Charan Ranbir, sitting in Odisha’s Angul, the district headquarters, has been running a school Nrutya Nilaya, apart from organising a festival Satkosia Mahotsav at Angul, since the last six years.  But what emerged as a major surprise were the slim, well turned out, proficient dancers of her group performing at Habitat’s Stein auditorium. Swapna Rani’s own choreography of the Shiva Shatakshara Stotram set to raga Madhyamadi by  composer/singer Ramhari Das with rhythmic inputs by Guru Dhaneswar Swain in  Ata and Jati talas , saw a well coordinated group perform. In the Durgacharan Ranbir  fashion, movement is punctuated by powerful frozen moments (interpreting ideas like Shiva with the snake garlanding his neck - vasuki  kantha  bhooshanam -  or the blue throated Neelakantha lord) designed for the entire group with the well balanced dancers very still, heralding each of the syllables Na Ma Shi Va Ya ....

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