Confluence of Music, Dance, Instruments and a Passion for the Arts

Confluence of Music, Dance, Instruments and a Passion for the Arts

It is always a delight to watch NRIs giving their best in Bharatanatya and Karnatak music. Their dedication and passion to the Indian classical art forms is exemplary.

Young Neha Kuderu from US seems to be doubly blessed. Her latent talents are nourished well by her family. Neha has the benefit of being trained by her grandmother, veteran Guru Radha Sridhar of Sri Venkatesha Natya Mandira. Her aunt Indrani Parthasarathy is also an accomplished dancer. The Bharatanaya recital held at ADA Rangamandira last Sunday spoke of her felicity with bhava, raga and tala. She finished off a demanding Mallari with aplomb. Lord Ganesha was eulogised through Ikshudandadhara (Vitapi). In the sankeerna alarippu, her neck and body movements were delightful. It accounted for a taut nritta.

 One was surprised at her selection of a popular Vachana (Chakorange Chandramana) set to Chakravaka raga for abhinaya. The poet’s message of total surrender to the Lord was conveyed through various similes. Neha gave Thyagaraja’s Sriranjini krithi Sogasuga mridanga talamu an extensive delineation.. It was a neat offering of Navarasas and nritta comprising of delectable sollukattus, adavus and swaras. The manner (gopuchcha yathi) in which the scale of the raga was sung in different speeds and its corresponding execution drew a huge applause.

 She went for the bhakti oriented  Krishnaashtottara varna in Reetigowla raga to which she devoted more than 30 minutes. The nrithya was quite engaging. It turned to be a very intricate presentation in view of some difficult rhythmic patterns. She met the challenge well, thus revealing her mature and intelligent mind. As per the sahitya of the varna, the life and leelas of Lord Krishna were enacted effectively. In the latter part, she went for pure abhinaya with another familiar pada Yamanelli kaananendu (ragamalika) as the base.

Laudable compositions

The Carnatic Conservatory of Paris led by Kannadiga-couple Bhavana and Pradyumna has taken one more step towards spreading the artistic and aesthetic messages of Karnatak music and Bharatanatya worldwide. Bhavana is a well trained vocalist under Chitra Veena expert N. Ravikiran. She is also a skilled dancer.

The CCP joined hands with Bengaluru’s Laasya Academy of Dance led by  dentist-dancer Dr. Lakshmi Rekha and Kalavardhini. The programme Nrithya Naada held at ADA Rangamandira on Friday was a confluence of dance and literature, art and technique. Renowned Chitra Veena artiste Ravikiran has made a solid contribution to the field of Karntak music. With ‘Ravi Shashi’ as his Mudra (signature), he has more than 750 varieties of compositions. These compositions are in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. They can easily accord Ravikiran the status of a Vaggeyakara. His compositions are now being successfully explored and rendered in both music and dance concerts.

A select few of his compositions were artistically presented during Nrithya Naada. Dr. Lakshmi Rekha, a prized disciple of Guru Dr. Vasundhara Doraswamy of Mysore exhibited her laudable talent and skill in choreographing six of Ravikiran’s compositions.

Bhavana Pradyumna’s singing was comprehensive and inspiring. Sujay Shanbhag (nattuvanga), Pradesh Achar (violin), Deepak Hebbar (flute), Anoor Vinod Shyam (mridanga) and Gopi Shravan (rhythm pad) added to the enthralling experience and they were especially sensitive in the Shuddha Nritta segment.

Lord Ganesha’s blessings were invoked through a Kadanakutoohala krithi. The traditional Mela praapthi followed. Dr. Lakshmi saluted different Gods including Ganesha (Gangadhara tanayam, Gambheera Nata) and Saraswathi (Kalavathi Saraswathi in Saraswathi raga). Ravikiran deserves to be lauded for his rare Bhaskara Kauthuvam addressed to the Sun God. The rendition of Turuga gathi was eye catching.  

Whether it was in the opening Mela praapthi or in the Kauthuvam, rhythm reigned supreme during the dance recital of Dr. Lakshmi Rekha.  Her strength was her unerring timing and there was no ambiguity in either mood or movement.

She dwelt in detail upon a Mohana varna with Lord Krishna as its theme. As per her mentor, Dr. Vasundhara Doraswamy’s style and school of dance, Lakshmi gave a racy start to the varna, opening with the brisk charana (Malai Megha Shyamane) and ettukkade segments. Then she came back to the pallavi and chittaiswara poritions. Her footwork was admirable with good araimandis. She also covered more space within the adavu structures. The handling of the nritta, nrithya and abhinaya transitions in the varna was smooth. 

She exhibited confidence that lent sheen to the description of the Goddess with the interpretation of a Kalyani krithi Saama gaana priye.

The amazing dance recital concluded with a pancha raga tala tillana. Goddess Lakshmi’s magnificence was portrayed neatly. The tillana was knit in Darbari (adi tala), Bilahari (roopaka), Kapi (mishra chapu), Devamanohari (khanda chapu) and Madhyamavathi (sankeerna), a rare combination indeed.

Bhavana and Lakshmi  must be praised for restaging Ravikiran’s compositions.

Both of them negotiated with the demanding material without a hitch which was quite an achievement for an amateur company.  The coordination between the musicians and the dancer was wholesome and rewarding.


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