Friday 3 November 2023

Natya Tarangini's Parampara Festival marks its 27th celebration - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

 It is an achievement for the celebrated Reddy trio of Raja/Radha and Kaushalya, under the banner of their institution Natya Tarangini (officially registered in 1976), to be marking the 27th celebration of what has become their signature festival, Parampara. One recollects, with some amusement, the query asked by a generally cynical critic when the festival was first announced. "In the present scenario where are the Paramparas we are celebrating?" Had the person concerned been in our midst today, one wonders how he would have reacted to how the institution of guru /shishya transmission has undergone changes to accommodate a fast moving world, with a Parampara festival now sponsoring Contemporary Dance and Fusion music with an interaction between the tabla and western drums, with other instruments like the keyboard and electric sitar! But one still speaks of the old ragas, and rhythmic patterns following tisra, chatusra, khanda, misra and sankeerna combinations! As time travels, notions and institutions from the past too undergo changes, and though Pariwar Paramparas do exist, children of traditional music and dance families, often take to other professions. The festival (Oct 6 - 8, 2023) opening with Hampi Vaibhavam was Raja's clever idea.....

One realizes that institutions run by individual dancers have to contend with steep competition - for room at the top for performance opportunities and recognition is limited. But one would expect a modicum of fellow feeling binding dancers as professional colleagues, for without this, performing art space would be stifling. I am mentioning this aspect because in the recent Bharatanatyam performance in the capital on the occasion of the 78th anniversary of Bharatha Natya Kala Mandir located in Mumbai, with a performance by Valerie Kanti Fernando, disciple of Guru Harikrishna Kalyanasundaram, I was shocked to see about thirty persons seated in the Kamani auditorium! Not a single recognizable face of a Bharatanatyam performer, or of any of the eminent artistes running institutions, did I see.... 

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