Sunday 11 August 2019

ABHAI's Pravasi Utsavam - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Chennai’s ABHAI (Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India), initiated in 1987 by Pakkirisamy Pillai was to encourage, amidst the highly competitive performance scenario, camaraderie among Bharatanatyam artistes. Since last year, ABHAI, in a friendly sensitive gesture, has mounted ‘Pravasi Utsavam’ solely meant for presenting proficient Bharatanatyam dancers settled abroad - who find it difficult to procure performance opportunities during the Season with its crowded calendar. And no matter how many opportunities for dancing one has in various countries, to present a Bharatanatyam recital on its home soil, has its own special appeal. 

After a brief invocation sung by Uma Namboodiripad Satyanarayana invoking Dakshinamurthy, followed by dancer Roja Kannan’s (President of ABHAI) very concise welcome address, the festival at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Chennai, had USA settled Lavanya Raghuraman trained by the Dhananjayans in Bharata Kalanjali presenting the curtain-raiser recital.  Beginning with a salutation to Nritta Ganapati as Parabrahma  swaroopam, the dancer went on to the Swarajati (Nrityopaharam for the Dhananjayan school), Sakhiye  inda  velaiyil in Anandabhairavi, with zippy teermanams and the expressional part of the nayika cajoling the sakhi to go as a messenger of love to fetch Rajagopalaswamy residing in the holy town, rendered with the confidence of a frequent performer. She finished with abhinaya in the Javali Sarasamulade  denduku in Kapi, the nayika trying to dodge the advances of the over eager nayaka for neither time of day nor the lack of privacy added up to an opportune moment for romance.

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