CELEBRATING WORLD DANCE DAY WITH SHAPATH – An Ode To Vows ,Oaths, Resolutions In Mythology Curated By Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra

Presiding Guests;- Padmashri Darshana Javeri , Padmashri Dr Puru Dadheech , Shri Sandip Soparrkar, Kathak exponents Rajashree Shirke ,Shila Mehta Dr Radha Mohan & Mohan (Kuchipudi)

Sponsor – Mahendra Finance

& Anjali Bharatanatyam Research Trust (Regd) 

Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra  known for curating festivals with unique themes once  again  came up with  SHAPATH- An Ode  unto Vows, Oaths, Resolutions in mythology An exploration of cause and effectt to endorse the meanings in the weaving threads  of our mythologies by imaginative ,adventurous choreographers  and Seasoned practitioners of the city on May1’2024 at the Mysore Association Auditorium ,Mumbai .

The momentum  for the celebration  was set  by  Bharata College of Fine Arts & Culture , the   founder Principal of which  is  Dr Sandhya Purecha ,Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi. ‘Swarajya’ absolutely  set the prelude to the exploration of SHAPATH  . Vibrant and seasoned  dancers  Chitra Dalvi , Pushkar(Bharatanatyam )  Latasana Devi  (.Manipuri)  and the renowned   Shubhada Varadkar  also the choreographer (Odissi) brought to life  the theme of  ‘Swarajya’  . It  was just the right start to  compliment the  Maharashtra Divas  that  at Mysore Auditorium , sought  to   celebrate the World Dance Day   with a potent  theme of  ‘Shapath’  . ‘Swarajya’ highlighted  the  pledge of freedom taken by Bal shivaji  to fight for freedom , to worship, to speak and live without fear, and a  pledge not to suffer  injustice.

The choreography with experienced  dancers made explicit the scenes  very evocatively. Commencing with the visually  aesthetic and  pulsating    ‘Jadev Jaydev jay ”  what  followed  was Queen Jijamate’s lullaby  . A unique lullaby that sought to awaken the  Bal Shivaji  to  enemies around .  It was such  an  apt  choice of the. Choreographer to havie  it enframed in Manipuri  

The experienced Exponents  depicted  the journey of Shivaji to Chatrapthi Sh ivaji . Highlighting  the strength and sacrifice of  a commander such as Bajirao  Prabhu who  though   critically injured motivated the army to hold fort  until  Shivaji’s safe journey to  Vishalgadh was signaled. The  well  knit performance impacted  within  the capsuled framework stipulated and  higighted that impacting in dance  absolutely  transcends  time . In th e blink of an eye and epoch can take shape  and  the one solo can impact as much as a group because the dance is about the one in all and all in the one.  Kudos to the  choreographer , the team, the  edifice nurturing the city with the aesthetics of fine arts ! 

 The anticipation  in the  fully packed auditorium   was evident  as  Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya  (the founder Principal of  which   is none other than   the  late legendary  veteran  Padmabhushan Dr Kanak Rele,) sought to explore the theme .

A thought provoking choreography  was presented defining Shapath     through strategic  episodes from  Mahabharat by the. Competent ,  imaginative  Principal  Dr Uma Rele  that  stirred  profound questions! 

Why morality  remained  the substance of truth and truth the essence of all morality ? Why   a Bhishma’s commitment to the throne , Draupadi’s humiliation ,Bhima’s loyalty to his brother despite their shortcomings.? The gripping  choreography through probing delved into the morality lacing all actions  defining the Ode to Shapath  through a skillful weaving  of potency of   chosen styles   and a team of vibrant 

dancers – Taamohar Biswas ,Radhika Nair,Mohan Acharya,Jainami Gada, Gauri Ajith, Meera Wagh, Kavya Varma,Urvashi Gupta, Karthika Murugan, Venkateshwari Nadar, Amanda Chetty.  The right choice of performers and the right styles to drape an emotion /character is always crucial to   impacting  and Kudos to  Uma Releji for  the well meditated upon weaving  bringing to life a theme so solendrously!

‘ Bhagirath Shapath  ‘ that followed,  Choreographed by the renowned   veteran –   Kathak Exponent Founder & Artistic  Director   Guru Shila Mehta   was a studied interpretation of the layers of  Bhagavati Ganga’s  descent .Commencing with Gangagayatri Mantra  it mirrored the distinctive touch of the creator . It was interesting on the dance day to also watch the related chemistry and connect of every mentor with their Shishyas  that made Diksha so meaningful . Under the astute watchful eye of  the  Guru the sacred river  came to life  answering the cry of Bhaveeratha .   Guru Shila Mehta’s  talented senior disciples-   Mansi Somaiya, KrutikaSawant, Sumana Sachidananda  were graceful and impacting   in their  subdued yet powerful execution . A very energetically aggressive  contrast to the softness was ‘SHAPATH’  – by dancers with passion & fire in  their hearts,  who had all the audience charged with an infectious momentum through the synergy of    Odiss i ( Sanatan Chakravarty) Kathak  (Aditya Garud )& Bharatnatyam  (Nilesh Singha)  – the city’s very  dynamic male dancers . Determination laced the delineation   of each of the artists . Their intent and conviction and a desire to break through with their signatures  had their  identities  exuding masculine power and grace endorsing   a strong  pledge  to  surpass every challenge  to stand out amidst a sea of human faces Panchali Sapatham , draped in Bharatanatyam style  based on the  lyrics by Tamil nationalist poet  laureate Subramania  Bharati, popularly known as “Bharatiyaar”  was Choreographed  in the signature style of the imaginative  Mentor – tthe experienced choreographer  Smt Jayashree Nair and executed by dedicated dancers – Aarya Kumar,  Adwita Pradeep,  Dhananandini  Rajaruban,  Jasmeet Taak,  Jhassithaa Balakrishna, Namrata Paralkar, Neha Nair,  Saritha Pradeep,  Sashank Shetty, Shrushti Jayaprakash  & Vishesha Adhvaryu.  It  was a  meaningful   exploring of r Draupadi’s Oath  that had the rooted attention of the fully packed auditorium . What enhanced  the  choreography was the  Music by late K Narayana with vocals  by the mellifluos Sri Siva Prasad N N   and   Smt. Sujatha Nair renowned Dancer , daughter / disciple of the Guru   . It was amazing how a chapter unfolded dance to dancer!  

The oath of Panchali  to  the oath of  Parvati  was  just a dance step  away !  The greatest oath always  is the one to love unconditionally  and  Parvati

 proving  her love to become one with Shiva eternally that ultimately  had Amba and Shiva merging as -Sambasadashiva  was what followed . It was visually  etched evocatively   by Dr Piyush Raj andDr Sunil Sunkara with  a deep rooted  commitment to do justice to its pulsating lyrical content penned by the great Master himself –   Padmashri  Puru Dadeech     What  a blessing  indeed  for the  experienced performers to present  the creation in  the witnessing presence of their  Mentor and  creator –  who had not only   penned lyrics  and compoosed it   but also choreographed  it.    It was a task whether to look at the Mentor watching  the disciples or  gather  him  through the  disciples ! 

 From Kathak to contemporary , the dance  and  choice ofsubject changed . World Dance Day it was with a draping of the theme in contemporary dance  by  the exlerienced   intense performer Ammith M L Kumar kumar & Ritika Ochani  – DANCE WORX (TDX )!  A jaw dropping  exploring  it was truly , with ethereal Echoes  in endless corridors   resonating  with oaths  orbiting  in  tunneling  corridors  of time . Excellence followed  excellence  and the sensitive audience  were enthralled by the Yakshagana that followed. 

What a  splendid performance  it was  with Bhasmasura -Mohini  episode in Yakshagana by Ankita Naik  – the disciple of Guru Gopala Ganiga Heranjalu  – renowned Yaksha Guru .   Ankita  as Bhasmasura  was endearing ,adorable   ,a well practised delineation that gathered a flowing spontaneity  developed to bring a laughter ,a smile  that had our hearts go out to the demon … a desire to hug the demon  too at times ! Ankita was complimented by Sapna Thapa  as  Mohini  Majestic and purposive and  intriguing the demon with a body language that bespoke of her  maturity .  Kashish  as Shiva  helped  provide  the reason for the  causal drama .  Bhasmura- Mohini   merited a standing ovation from the  very sensitive audience that made  every reaching out ever so blissful. Two  experienced exponents Dr Sailaja Desai   ( Kuchipudi)and Dr Suman Badami( Bharatanatyam)  came together in the  artistic dimensions  of May1’2024 to gather the descent of the Ganga  to accord salvation to the sons of sagara .. an answer to the penance undertaken by Bhageeratha.  Visually pleasing in white they complimented each other  effectively draping their choreography through Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam Curators of the Powai Fine Arts    that they are  their  acute awareness of each  other’s style  ,their concern with the message highlighted that dance should  seek to express more than impress.  The cry of the Ganga  reluctant to leave heaven echoed in the  turmoil racing within Yashodara by  accomplished  exponent Pallavi Shome, an alumni of Kathak Kendra, New Delhi who very  sensitively  exploredthe great poet  Maithili Sharan Gupt’s-  ‘ Re mann, aaj pariksha teri’ from his work titled ‘Yashodhara’ Inspite of a knee Injury that curtailed her movements with skillful modification of  her own choreography she draped the stirring poem’s intensity  with a  subdued delineation that highlighted her obvious  experience  .  

Curator  Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra and her disciples Ananya Mohan, Lavanyakshi Uchil,Megha Pillai,Mahek Prajapati ,

reached out with three vows  Lord Shiva    urged Parvati to keep . The fact she could not keep it led to the causal  trail of events where  Sati  awakens her Father Daksha Prajapati of  his own  entreaty unto her – Shakthi , to be born as his daughter . His insults and rage has  Sati  reveal her true form as Shakti  and   in a bid to severe the worldly bond between her and her father  she  self-  immolates herself in   fire to the dismay of all present. 

 The choice of music  ,  Indian,Indo-  western,with Synergy of Carnatic swaras came into its own in the  ‘Ardhanareeshwar’ composition penned   by Padmashri Guru Puru Dadheech   . Deftly the  swaras draping lyrics were woven to embrace the Adi Thalam format by the experienced Curator. .

Lata was supported  by  her mature disciples  and the item merited appreciation by the legendary Veteran Guru Shri Puru Dadheech himself.

A stirring ‘Chanakya Shapatham ‘ by Samidha’s Institute of performing arts and her  Disciples –

Madhavi Ghante,Anushree Kumbhar, Lithika Prabhakar, Kanchan Salve, Ranika Pathak, Jahnvi Joshi,   developed the theme  of the day . With maturity using the young talented moulds  Samidha explored  sincerely -Chanakya taking  his oath after being  insulted by  King – Dhanananda in the royal assembly;   His  one thought of revenge  that  had him train Chandragupta Maurya  and finally   his crushing  the Nanda dynasty to  establish the  glorious Maurya Empire.. The scenes    impacted through the carefully worked out choreography using the young dedicated disciples skillfully .

A sankalp  vital in defining a ‘savitri ‘ the  strong woman in every woman , “mai savitri” underlined the obvious  efforts put in by Gayatri Bhat   the tres talented disciple of Guru Ranjana Phadke   . An impacting performance  endorsed her creative acumen . It is this  alone  that takes any artist   far .. with a name  to reckon with amidst a sea of human faces. The growth of this artist i have  observed . An innate pathos that resurges with the cry of humanity   that will have her make a distinctive mark  and have all  absolutely  relate  her name with the style   .  The  all  favourite  of the day seemed Draupadi and  young  ,talented ,dedicated

Krishnabhadra Namboodiri – Disciple of  the committed Guru  Gayatri Subramanian  endeared  herself to  all hearts , with her sensitive exploring of Draupadi .

What a subdued yet strong defining of a well meditated  choreography  , young yet intense  .  Her adherence to the  detailing  prevalent  in the subdued and powerful choreography  of her Guru was remarkable.  A whisper  they say  can be louder than a shout and it is one feature of her Guru  Gayatri Subramaniun   i   always appreciate. The day stretched on and yet  the timeless was experienced  through every reaching out. Jayalakshmi Anand  & Anand Satchidanand .. chaste , intense and  dignified  ,a duo   who never fail to   stir aesthetic hearts  . It was an interesting dimension throughTirunavukkarasars Thevaram padigam – Maathar Pirai.

Shiva fulfilling both vows – that of the Bhakta to see Shiva and Shakti (Kailasa) and his vow to guide his Pasus to realise the Pati  What a command performance  . Such is  the potency of compositions  that to relate  it’s universality  to life through art  , all it takes is to relate to the words waiting in compositions seeking to be draped in chords and yearning to dance into hearts as a message ! 

It was the turn of the rasikas to stretch their feet to participate and  the ‘Movement Metaphor in DMT  an interesting session by Dr. Lata Narayan -a retired Professor from TISS, in the discipline of Social Work did just that . She   had the audience come on to the stage!

It is the bond between the audience  and rasikas that has  kept  tradition alive  through the times Talented disciples of Guru Smt. Alakananda Mukherjee Sanjana Kamble, Vedanti Parab, Vaishnavi Menon, Prakriti Mahapatra, Nidhi Kamble, Sanika,  brought to life their Guru ‘s  choreography  to visually  etch the profound  promise  shared by Radha and Krishna  ..a promise embracing   all that is romance in this world . It was  inspired by Bhanusingha Thakurer Padavali that comprised of Vaishnava verses penned by Rabindranath Tagore   in Brajbuli  and the disciples endeared  themselves to all  with their commitment  and dedication.

Dedicated Saranya Jaselin   performed  Arjun Chaturang – A unique chaturang in Arjun Taal (24 Matra) written by Sunil Sunkara and composed by Advaith Roy  that brought  forth the journey of Arjun upto the moment on the battlefield. Where with Gita as Sakshi   he took  the oath to move forth as the protector of Dharma as Gandivdhari Arjuna.The Mentor is reflected in the shishya .. Sharanya’s execution carried  her dedicated observation and an  awareness . A deep passion  for her dance form and  her respect for those who were instrumental in shaping her talent . Her Guru Padmashri Puru Dadhich  and her  imaginative choreographer/ bhaiya Sunil  was very much mirrored in her evocative delineation . 

The absorbing delineation.

Beautiful  Neha Banerjee  and Akshobhya Bharadwaj    reached out  with Draupathi Shapath  – a part from  ‘Sairandri – the musical’. It was a  dramatic  portrayal by the two  very  seasoned performers  that  evocatively mirrored  the   humiliation  with  realistic  intensity  that had the hearts of the  audience  desire to free the beastly hands tugging at the  highlighted tresses of a beauty in pain. The vow continued to enlarge with Abhishek Rathod -a wonderful contemporary dancer  and teacher   who draped the entreaty and cry of the devotee , anchoring in that faith that trusts the  promise of the Lord unto devotees ! 

Urging an oath from all humanity was Taalmani Pandit Brijraj Mishra Kala Foundation .  The gentle ,feminine grace that is  Dr Anupama Harshal  visually highlighted the necessity of  an oath by every human being  to plant a tree because each tree is  a sentinel, standing tall and proud with roots entwined with stories. The sensitively woven  choreography awakened all to  Trees as being   truly the guardians of serenity, in shades of green .

When it’s the  Maharashtra Divas  – Labour day that you are. Celebrating a World Dance Day , how can one miss out on a Lavani ? Lavanyavati Nilesh Auti   was at his coquettish best with the romance stirrring Item- ‘Hichkee’. 

Debabrata  Pal  had the curiousity of the crowd   as  he synergised  – ‘Dance and painting ‘  The canvas, the dance ,the audience all smiled with Debo who  related to the spirit of the dancer as he blissfully stood gathered  with his creativity in the limelight. The page concluded with the veteran exponent of Kathak Rajashree Shirke  inspiring dancing feet  to  awaken to the connotations of dance  it’s  capacity to link worlds   . She  created  the Tree of life rooted in tradition ,  endorsing the perennial cycle of Diksha  with  a quest go imbibie if only to inculcate  !

” Creativity is reaching out with what is often thought but never so well expressed .It is about seeing the same world but thinking different  because it is not what happens to us but how we react to it that separates us from each other . In that separation is the birth of a new inspiration which when  transformed to a poem ,when draped in lyrics ,when brought to life through gestures becomes a dance unique as ever and timeless in its message  ! ” Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra.

CELEBRATING WORLD DANCE DAY WITH   SHAPATH  – An Ode To Vows ,Oaths, Resolutions In Mythology  Curated By Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra 

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