CHENNAI: The sounds of dancers’ feet rang through the walls of YGP Auditorium, on Sunday. During a rigorous three hour workshop, 334 Bharatanatyam dancers, learnt the nuances of taala that they hadn’t heard of before. Guiding them through the workshop, was Madurai R Muralidaran, a, musician, dancer, and artistic director at Nrityakshetra Dance Academy. It was an attempt by the academy to make it to the Guinness Book of World Records, by teaching dancers, the longest taala in Carnatic music.
Around 10 students from the academy, demonstrated the nuances of the taala, while Muralidaran explained them theoretically with a powerpoint presentation. The dancers included experienced and young dancers from different Bharatanatyam schools in Chennai, and other cities. “It feels overwhelming to pull off an event of this extent, without much support. I hope this record and the workshop, will get more dancers interested in exploring the possibilities of these taalas,” said Muralidharan
He demonstrated sankeerna jaati triputa taala, and sankeerna jaati dhruva taala. The students shared that it was quite challenging because of the 39 aksharas. “I’ve never used it in a performance before, or even seen someone else perform. The workshop has given me a deeper understanding of this form,” said Bhargavi Venkatraman, a Chennai-based dancer, learning under Bhagyashree Satish.
Ananya Sangeetha, another student shared, “It’s a challenge everyone took on, because dancing to the longest taala in carnatic music is not easy.”
After the students took down their notes, and learnt the basic movements, in the last section of the workshop, they performed in unison to three different speeds. Even in the heat, they carried on without a drop in energy.