Friday 18 November 2022

Sparkling Spanda synergy - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Choreographies of Leela Samson presented by her group Spanda, at the Kamani, Delhi, showed how group energy can be an experience of immersive joy in the dancers, while executing within the same space relationships both reciprocal and distancing. Within the group symmetry, Leela's choreography getting away from the frontal faced dancing looking at the audience, comprises movements having dancers facing different directions, the simultaneity of various types of actions forming part of a larger picture not spelling dissonance. An example was the curtain raider - an obeisance to the Sun, Bhaskaraya Namaha, based on verses taken from the Krishna Yajurveda Taittiriya Brahmana, with the Beejaksharas as the seven colours of the sun representing the seven horses of Surya's chariot. The sounds Ha and Ra, standing for Akash (the void of the sky in which the Sun rises and sets), and Agni (fire ball that the sun is) respectively, both constituents of the sun. Addressing Surya as the Mitran (friend and well-wisher) and destroyer of all evil, the dancer praying for the welfare of all, energizes her/his body, the instrument of movement, by offering salutations through the Surya Namaskar. There is stillness punctuated by sudden bursts of energy. As the sun rises, the world wakes up, with plant, bird and all living creatures coming to life. Each of these actions gets performed in unison, with dancers in varied actions facing different directions, all as part of one large frame - with Rajkumar Bharati's music in all morning ragas - Suryakanti, Ravichandrika and Surya....

It is after a gap of several years that one got to witness the Modern Dance creation of Kolkata's Sapphire Dance Creations headed by Sudarshan Chakravorty. The Company is celebrating its 30th year of existence - no mean feat, particularly for an institution pursuing 'creative dance', which does not have the kind of support that, what is known as 'classical' dance in India, enjoys.

Sapphire's evening of Interface began with the Subijaya awards in memory of Sudarshan's parents who perished in a plane accident, conferred on persons in the field of arts viz...Odissi dancer Sharon Lowen, Dadi Pudumjee the puppeteer and Kathak specialist Shovana Narayan....

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