Bhavam Nrityalaya’s impressive thematic production “Natyarambha”

A review by Sangeetha Kalarathna Shri. S. Shankar

March 3, 2019
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Natyarambha – a thematic production on the origin of Dance as per Natyashastra was staged by the students of Bhavam Nrityalaya as part of their annual day celebrations at SIBM Auditorium, Bangalore on Jan 13th 2019. The concept and choreography were by Mrs. Anitha Rajagopalan, who runs the school in the Electronic city, Bangalore. Guests of Honor on this ocassion were Sangeetha Kalarathna Vid. Shri. S. Shankar, Guru Smt. Bhavani Anantharaman (Artistic Director, Bhavanis Prasannalaya) and Vid. Smt. Aranya Narain (Renowned Bharatanatyam Dancer, Heads Flute and Feet Academy)

The dance performance started with Pushpanjali followed by Stotra mala by the students offering their obeisance to Lord Ganesha and Lord Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. The small children danced to the Ganesha Pancharatnam very well and in sync. This was followed by a dance presentation for a very old song tuned to Kuntalavarali Ragam “Nee Vilayadina” by Lalitha Dasar. The dancers created an ambience of Brindavana where Krishna used to dally with Gopikas.

Next was the main thematic presentation “Natyarambha” – the origin of the dance. The scene started with the people in Krita Yuga performing various yogic practices with peace and serenity all over. In the following Treta yuga, there was confusion among people – this scene was depicted with a varnam sung with only the swaras tuned in the ragam Bowli composed by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman. The dancers depicted a clear picture of the chaos with their Abhinayas. The next scene depicted the conception of Natya Veda by Brahma – which was given to Sage Bharatha. This scene showcased the interaction of Lord Brahma and other devas and sages resulting in Lord Brahma conceiving the concept of Natya Veda and handing it over to Sage Bharatha. Bharatha teaches art to his students. This scene was depicted by the students using the Mudras very effectively. This was followed by the depiction of what is called as Shirobedhas – this was beautifully choreographed with wonderful Jati patterns. The group danced very synchronously with the Jathis and steps falling in place. There was also a depiction of a sword fight scene with jathis in different Nadai. This was followed by a wonderful portrayal of Ashta Rasas as mentioned in the Natyasastra. Following this was the Shambhu Natanam that very well suited for a Tandavam by Shiva and Parvathi in Kailasa. The scene ended with a grand finale of the churning of the ocean with Vasuki as the snake and Mandara mountain. This scene was choreographed very well and the students gave a wonderful output depicting the scene as if it were happening in front of our eyes. The various events like the mountain sinking, Lord Vishnu appearing as a tortoise to support the mountain, the poison that was spat out by the snake, the arrival of Lord Shiva to the prayers and consuming the poison, thus earning him the name “NeelaKanta”. This brought the Natyarambha to an end.

After the main item, there was a Virutham of Yakundendu followed by Shringapuradeeshwari Sharade composed by Padma Charan. The various abhinayam the main dancer Anitha expressed for the virutham were flawless and divine. The three dancers who performed for this had a good sense of Laya – for it was visible in the Pancha Nadai they danced for. Following this was the padam ‘Theruvil Varano’ by Muthu Thandavar. The longing of a devotee waiting for her Nayaka who is none other than Lord Nataraja and looking out for him in the street was the main theme of the padam. The dancer Deepa, did a great amount of justice to the famous padam. Following this was the Tillana by Dr. Balamurali Krishna by three students. The event concluded with a Mangalam to Bharatha Mata by Mayruam Vishwanatha Shastriyar.

Overall, the program was a grand success and very entertaining. It showed the amount of practice that the students have put in to get it to this level. Warm wishes to the teacher and the students for presenting a wonderful art form.

Credits : Concept and Choreography: Smt.Anitha Rajagopalan | Music: Shri. Sriram and Smt. G.V. Swetha | Jathis: Vidwan. Shri. V.R. Chandrashekhar | Master of Ceremonies: Smt. Deepa Bharath and Smt. Janani Venkataraman | Photo: Sreevalsam Gopinath | Video: Ramesh | Costumes: Bharatavarsha Costumes and ‘Threads in Style’ | Theme Decor: Malathi Rajagopalan, Komals Creations

Orchestra Ensemble: Nattuvangam: Smt. Anitha Rajagopalan and Smt. Deepa Bharath | Vocal: Vid. Shri. Sri Ram | Mridangam: Vid. Shri. V.R. Chandrashekhar | Flute: Vid. Shri. Vivek Krishna | Violin: Vid. Shri. C. Madhusudhan

Natyarambh - the origin of the dance
PC: Valsam's Photography
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