Mythical encore

The performances commenced with the students of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala presenting a pushpanjali followed by Alarippu.
Students of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala during their Bharatanatyam performance.
Students of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala during their Bharatanatyam performance.

HYDERABAD: Amidst a cozy ambiance, with students adorned in traditional outfits and parents eagerly awaiting their children’s performances, alongside esteemed dancers like Yamini Reddy and Anupama Kylash, the 3rd annual “Abhyudaya Festival” organised by Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala recently took place. Attendees were treated to special solo performances by K P Rakesh, Dr Sathya S N, and Mythili Anoop, seamlessly blending the traditional dance form Bharatanatyam with mythological stories on the stage at Nishumbita School of Drama in Begumpet.

The performances commenced with the students of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala presenting a pushpanjali followed by Alarippu. They captivated the audience with ‘Jatiswaram — Arabhi ragam, Adi talam’. Subsequently, they performed a Varnam, a flagship of Kalakshetra, ‘Manavi varnam, Shankarabaranam, Adi talam’, by Tanjore Quartet followed by Mangalam.

Reflecting on the Abhyudaya Festival, Subbulakshmi, the founder of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala, shared, “Abhyudaya started in 2022. We had the experience of residing on the other side of the city in Secunderabad, within the army and a secure area. We felt that our children were not very exposed to Indian art forms, especially those artists coming from outside.

So, I wanted to give them that exposure because we had always been focused on one particular style, given my background as an alumna of the Kalakshetra Foundation. So, I had been teaching them the Kalakshetra style. I wanted them to open up to all the other styles so that their minds could open up. Over the past three years, we’ve witnessed significant changes in my students. We’ve seen people coming from Chennai, from Mumbai; we had Sujatha last time, and Soundarya performing Kuchipudi. And this time, we have Satya, who is showcasing a Vallur style.”

Following the enchanting performance by Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala’s ensemble, Dr Satya S N graced the stage. She commenced with Pushpanjali in Ragam Aarabhi and Talam Adi, a composition of Padma Vibushan Dr M Balamurali Krishna. She continued with Chokersar Kauthwam in Gana Ragamallika and Talam Misrachapu-Vazhuvoor Traditional Kauthwam.

The next piece, ‘Maadu maikkum kanne,’ portrayed a dialogue between the young Krishna and his mother Yashoda, transporting the audience to Gokul. She concluded the Bharatanatyam recital with Thillana in Ragam Kamas and Talam Adi. The next rendition was Mohiniattam by Mythili Anoop. She performed on Ganga Tatvam choreographed by Guru Kalamandalam Sugandhi. Subsequently, she performed on Draupadi’s padam-paripaahimaam hare from Duryodhana vadham and concluded with Ameer kalyani thillana.

Subbulakshmi mentioned that the idea behind the Abhyudaya Festival was inspired by Nidheesh Kumar, Founder of Indisha Organisation. “We started in 2012 under the banner of Indisha Organisation which is based out of Chennai. Initially, it was started for the students and the art community as a service. At first, student participation was high. Then, it mainly focused on the main artists, and the student programme became separate because it would grow automatically. The same concept was communicated, and now they are celebrating the third annual festival,” said Nidheesh Kumar.

Lastly, K P Rakesh brought a storm to the stage with his performance. He presented a Koutvam, a traditional Koutvam on Lord Muruga, in Ragam Goulai, set to sarvalaghu. He then delved into a varnam portraying the nine emotions of the goddess, ranging from her display of valour as Meenakshi during Dikvijaya to her expression of love, sringaram, upon meeting Shiva on Mount Kailasa. This is in ragamalika, set to adi talam, a musical composition of Lalgudi G Jayaraman.

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