Saturday, 16 March 2013

Goodbye to Natyanjali 2013

Covering a festival over five days takes a lot out of you. More so when the 3G lines swing crazily and you have to bit your nails and grin and bear the frustration.

On Thursday evening, even as we wound up the last of the dance recitals carried on on stage - Pune's Shasikala Ravi and her dancers.

It has not been the best of festivals as far as attendance went - this is also a time for state and local exams at schools, so families tend to stay put at home. The attendance was not huge even on Sivaratri night.

Delays on four evenings did not do much good for the tightness that a festival must have.

As we left, the Bo Shambo song was ringing into the night.

Final Day; photos

Photos - top to bottom: Darshini Pattabhiraman, a student of guru Krishnakumari Narendran, Chennai; Bangalore based Lakshana Shravan, a disciple of Shubha Dhananjay; Shubha Dhananjay and her musicians on stage: Kathak dancers Leena Vij and Poonam Sethi, from Delhi; the musicians for the Kathak recital:  Krishnakumari Narendran and her musicians on stage: Odissi dancers of the Mayadhar Raut School, Delhi where guru Madhumita Raut teaches.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Buzz from Malaysia

Sudha Nair performed last evening. For this Malaysian dancer and dance teacher Chidambaram is familiar territory. 
Her daughter attends a undergrad course in dance at Annamalai University and Sudha flies in to be with her off and on. (Another daughter also learns Bharatanatyam).
And since her guru was an early sishya of the Dhananjayans, Sudha spends time in Chennai to meet friends.
Chennai and Chidambaram has many students who hail from Sudha's world. 
In Malaysia, Sudha says while the performing spaces have increased, one stream sticks to classical dance and performs because of the passion that drives them and the other, performs to entertain people and be invited to pop events.
Malaysia has also seen the sexual transformation of many male dancers. And some of  them are well known there.

A ragamalika that rasikas enjoyed . .

Stories hold an audience.
That is what Bangalore dancer Lakshana Shravan did on Thursday evening.
Her team, led by guru Shubha Dhananjay worked on a concept specially for the Natyanjali.
A ragamalika, a string of parts of songs, all in Tamil related to Lord Shiva and Chidambaram, of different composers.

With the complement of musicians including a rhythm pad musician, Lakshana essayed a story that most people in the audience would have related to.
Lakshana says that they worked on this piece for about six weeks and performed it also at the Big Temple in Thanjavur, two evenings ago.

Guru Shubha has been running a dance school for three decades in Basavarajeswar Nagar and this is the first time that her student has performed for the Natyanjali. "We don't apply for recitals," she said backstage, indicating that she was happy to have her students perform at places where they are invited to.

At Chidambaram she and her team received a very warm applause.

Photos on recitals; solo and group

Photos; Top to bottom: Dhivya Sivanesan from Sri Lanka; Sudha Nair Thamothiran from KL, Malaysia: dance students at Sastra University, Thanjavur; students of the Poonaiah Lalitha Kala Academy, Bangalore: the Dharshini School dancers from Chennai.

Big evening for local dance students

Day 5 and the last evening of the Natyanjali at Chidambaram.
It is also a day out for a few families of this town.

The opening recital of stage is by the students of a local guru. Teeny-weeny dance students on stage.
And families, friends in tow. They pack into the front of the yard, the women in the best Kanjeevarams.

This is a big evening for them. The hosts are always considerate, giving local dance schools the opportunity by turn.

And for the families of these kids, the recital is a big day in their lives. Some even have photographers in tow, to record the event.

One smart photographer grabs a little dancer and leads her to a place where broken images of this temple are kept and asks the girl to pose for him.

Once the recital is over, a big community leaves the venue. And others file in to take their place.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

For this Iranian, dance is first love

Shima Mahdavi breezed in backstage on Tuesday night for her performance which was over an hour away.
But there were preparations to make.
It takes time for a Kathakali artiste to don the costume though the make-up can be done earlier.
Shima has been learning Kathakali for some years at an international Kathakali institute in Delhi.
She also learns Bharatanatyam in Chennai, from Kalakshetra's Haripadam.
She cannot perform in Iran where dancing in public is banned. But she can participate in theatre which is how she gets to perform what she learns as a Kathak and Bharatanatyam dancer in India.
"I alternate between the two forms in theatre shows," she says after her short recital here - though it was late, she should have been allowed at least 30 minutes what with the effort at preparing for a recital.

A DD staff recalls the 1970s Natyanjali

This will be the last Natyanjali that Doordarshan staffer Bhupalan from the DD Chennai Kendra.
He retires in a month after a long innings at DD during which among many key events, Bhupalan has been part of the teams which beamed out the annual saint Thyagaraja aradhana from Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur and the Natyanjali in Chidambaram.
Bhupalan says that when he first came here in 1975, the scene was different. A go-shala was located along the wall of the outer yard where the dance recitals take place now - and the TV crew had to work from a temporary shed that was erected for the Natyanjali next to the cow shed!
Wild bushes ran all around the yard and some would be cleared for people to sit and watch the recitals.
Also, the DD team, a small one would travel by a Mahindra van, carrying men and equipment.
Today, some 30 plus people made the DD team though the cameras are of vintage quality.

Day 4. Early evening recitals . .

Photos : Radhika Shetty from Mangalore on stage; Radhika's guru Sharadha Mani and musicians: musicians accompanying dancer Sarayu Sai of Chennai

More Natyanjali photos. .

Photos of 1. Jayaprabha Menon from Delhi ( Mohiniattam ); 2 - Iranian dancer Shima Mahdavi who presented a Kathakali item is seen backstage after the recital; 3. Bharatanatyam dancer Shanmugasundaram from Chennai

From Mangalore, it was a long journey for Radhika Shetty

Radhika Shetty made a long journey for this Natyanjali. 
From the west coast to the east coast. From her home town Mangalore to Chidambaram.
Car, bus, train. . . this is her first time at the Natyanjali and with her was guru Sharada Mani Shekar, also from Mangalore.
Radhika came back from the USA some years ago and set up her own school even as she continued learning under dancers like Bragha Bessel.
She says Mangalore now has lots of classical dance schools and there are regular recitals. The local Town Hall is their best venue because the acoustics there are good.
She has made some attempts to get sabhas in Chennai to give her the platform during the December season and lives in hope.
But she was pleasantly surprised with the invitation from Chidambaram.

Engineering students are also into dance

This was a unique group - young dance students who study engineering/IT and attend dance classes on weekends on the same campus.
Sastra University, on the Tiruchi-Thanjavur offers a dance course directed by Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam.
Padma holds lec-dems now and then and the students train under a local teacher, R Subramanian who is also a Bhagavata Mela artiste.
Subramanian says his students are very dedicated though they have their hands full with their tech studies.
On Tuesday night, that dedication came through in their recital.

Picnic at Pitchavaram

This morning, March 13 we spotted the lone billboard of Tamil Nadu Tourism on the main East Car Street - promoting a Beach Festival in a sandy island off Pitchavaram.
Pitchavaram is picturesque seaside zone of mangroves, about 12 kms from Chidambaram.
Tamil Nadu Tourism arranges short and long boat trips that take you deep into these groves.
A picnic trip is highly recommended.
In recent times, the Tourism folks have made feeble attempts to generate events in one of these uninhabited islands.
Yoga and boating at sun rise can make this a memorable experience.
If you are at the Natyanjali, make time for this outing - you will about 3 hours

Photos of Day 3 recitals

Photos: The packed yard on Tuesday evening. Guru Chinnamanur A. Chitra with her children-sishyas backstage. Anita Guha's senior dancers on stage, Anita and the musicians and the two juniors of Anita's group on stage

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Nandini Eshwar from Mysore

Very quietly, backstage five dancers follow a guru - sishya tradition. Even as a recital goes on on stage and other artistes bustle around.
They seek the blessings of their guru and warm up.

Guru Nandini Eswar looks very much a professor of the old school. And clearly, she sticks to tradition that she believes in.

Her sishyas tell me that she started her dance school in Mysore some 50 years ago. Hers has been a quiet record - which will be recogised later this week at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bangalore.

The Raas Indian Arts Foundation that Eswar also manages is the professional performance wing - made up of five trained dancers who take up dance productions.

Eshwar's son Dr. Rohita teaches archaeology at Mysore University and is a dancer too. He says that they follow a discipline his mother has set. Practice and planning is key. His colleague says that they practised for about 3 months for the three items that they presented here for the Natyanjali.

They danced to recorded music - of Karaikudi Mani, Ravi Shankar and D K Jayaram's rendition of a pancharatna kriti. And this was their first Natyanjali.

Dance to recorded music?

The unwritten rule for artistes at the Natyanjali is that they must avoid playing recorded music; rather get musicians along.
But dancers are forced to choose the easier option - bring CDs along. This may be an anjali but musicians have to be transported and renumeration paid.
Rukmini Vijayakumar from Bangalore got upset when the hosts asked her to end her recital in the given time. 
She performed to recorded music for her recital and had one more item planned.

On stage . . .

Photos of 1 & 2 - Sudharma Vaithiyanathan in concert: and her guru A Lakshman, of Chennai and the accompanists on March 11 evening. 2. Mohiniattam dancers, disciples of Shyamala Surendran of Kochi 3. Roopa Ravindran of Bangalore.

Anita Guha travels light!

Anita Guha and her big. big troupe of teen dancers are regulars on the Natyanjali circuit.
Today though her plans are different.
There are the seniors, in their 20s now who prefer to dance solo. Then there is the group which fits best for dance productions. And there are the juniors who are into the basics.
Though the students would love to do be on the road Anitha says she has to be choosy. "I need time for myself and my family too," she says when we meet after lunch today.
This evening, a shade before 9 p.m. Anita's five senior dancers wound up a final item on stage, winding up what was a crisp, smart recital for the Natyanjali.
There were two juniors too, with their own time on stage. Ashana and Jyotsna.
Time to travel light . . 

More photos of recitals Day 1 and 2

Photos of sisters Sheela and Shoba at their Kuchipudi recital on Monday; Roja Kannan solo on stage on the same evening and Odissi dancer Ranjana Gauhar from Delhi performing on Day One.

The Reunion Island guests . .

Dancers from Reunion Island who performed on March 11 evening. Their family and friends record and watch the recital.

From Colombo, Sri Lanka . .Thivya Sivanesan

Sri Lankan Thivya Sivanesan came to Chennai in 2005 to seek a guru and she found one in prof. C V Chandrasekar.
Subsequently, she used to spend 2 to 3 months every year learning at his place in south Chennai.
This evening, guru and sishya were at the temple to offer anjali.
Thivya says her visits to Chennai have been for shorter periods - employed with Ashok Leyland in Colombo, work now takes a good part of her time.
Bur she also runs a dance school in Colombo 4. Abhinayashetra.
"I  don't keep a track of the number of students. I just give what I have learnt from my guru,' she says.
On this trip she managed to perform at three other venues around Chidambaram.
You can reach her at -

Day 3 at Chidambaram

The early evening slots on stage are always for groups from the towns of Tamil Nadu. ( One wishes similar groups from interior Kerala and Andhra make the journey here ).
For these groups, performing here is a big thing - parents, relatives and friends often accompany the artistes.
The evening, the opening recital was by a group from Vandalur, a Chennai suburb. Om Sri Raja Rajeswari Natyalaya of guru T Saraswathi. The team was here on time, warmed up and went on stage a shade after 5.15 p.m.
The audience is small at this time of the evening. But for groups like the Vandalur one this does not matter at all.

Shyamala Surendran from Kochi

Passing foreign tourists chance to watch the Natyanjali. By accident. 
The promotion of this major art event by the state is almost zilch here save for a poster that welcomes people to a beach island fest at then mangroves-rich Pitchavaram.
Kochi-based arts promoter and guru Shyamala Surendran brought along some of her foreign students to the fest - just to soak in.
Since she does the Europe circuit to teach dance, Shyamala says she gets a regular stream of students who want to spend time in Kochi at her Dharani School of Performing Arts

Sisters Sheela and Shoba keep their date

Sisters Sheela Unnikrishnan and Shoba Korambil kept their date at Chidambaram with their Kuchipudi recital which was a special moment for the duo.
They had performed together on this stage 20 years ago.
Both have learnt Kuchipudi, one from the late Vempati Chinna Satyam and so, they had to brush up at the classes of Jai Kishore Mosalikanti who teaches in Chennai.
On Monday night they began with a sloka of scholar Dr Pappu Venugopala Rao and moved on with a piece by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna.
Sheela goes back to Chennai and returns with her sishyas to Thanjavur on Thursday to present an extract from a dance production.
What a schedule!

'Chidambaram Paatu'; handy book for dancers

Scholar B M Sundaram's forehead creases when dancers at the Natyanjali perform to songs that have been belted time and again.
"Why don't they make an effort to work on less known songs for this occasion?," he asks backstage.
Sundaram and the Natyanjali Trust published a book that databases songs, verses and compositions that are based only on Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram.
' Chidambaram Paatu' costs Rs.100.
It has been a labour of commitment, this book. All the items performed at each Natyanjali are filed and though there may not throw up gems they have inspired the making of this book.
Sundaram will be happy if dance schools pick up copies and use the lead material to expand their performance repertoire.
Copies are available at the Trust office at 54, East Car Street, Chidambaram

More photos . .

Photo captions: Top to bottom: Students of guru Padmini Radhakrishnan of Mumbai on Day Two of the Natyanjali. France based dancer Gayatri on Day Two: Priya Murle and dancers of Chennai-based Sree Bharatalaya perform on Day One; dancers sit with the audience to watch the recitals

Monday, 11 March 2013

Ms Indira Gandhi and the Natyanjali . .

Did former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi have a link with the Natyanjali festival In Chidambaram?
Archaeologist and arts commentator R Nagaswamy says there was a small connection.

When scholar Delhi-based scholar and arts activist Dr Kapila Vatsyanan, a prime mover of the Natyanjali idea firmed it up she shared the details with Indira Gandhi who is said to have offered her wishes for the project.

Nagaswamy made this public at a felicitation event held between concerts tonight. He was also part of the team that staged the first series of dances in the temple. He spoke of that time when a few lights and mikes and speakers got the recitals going and they passed the hat to collect some money.

But when the time came for the second edition of the Natyanjali the team was not so sure and when bureaucrat C K Gariyali, then the local collector heard of the situation she  played a major role and stayed on for many years.

Also, current Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa had arranged for funds for the fest when the fest bank account had gone dry.

Nagaswamy also recalled a time when the organizers had to run off with mikes and light-stands when the skies opened but the recitals continued in the 1000-pillared hall, which now remains 'protected' ( those were days when the recitals were held in the inner yard, in the open air).

Huge delay dullens artistes

It is 11.10 p.m. Monday. And the Mohiniattam dancers from Kochi are into their second item on stage. They should have been there at 8.45 p.m.

On person who has been put off by the huge delay is Bharatanatyam guru A. Lakshman who runs his school in Chennai and is here to conduct the recital of his ward, the young and talented Sudharma Vaidhyanathan.

"These delays waste the energies of the dancers and dullen the artistes, " he says backstage.

Lakshman was not in a good mood since he arrived - upset about the condition of the rooms in a local hotel that were allotted to him and his troupe.

"I think the standard of this Natyanjali is going down. I don't feel enthused to be here," he says, very plainly.

Accommodation standards vary, with some artistes making their own arrangements and others dependent on the hosts. These are sensitive issues for a fest where artistes are invited to pay tribute. But people like Lakshman may also be making some points to consider.

Two stalwarts of the fest honored

Two men, both in the 90s were decorated on stage this evening. And they really deserved the warm gesture.

V S Ramalingam and K Swaminathan have been the men who with others built the foundation of the Natyanjali in its early years ( this is the 32nd edition of the dance fest). Ramalingam is 92 plus and Swaminathan is 90 but both men slowly made their way to the stage and took their seats for the short felicitation.

Both slogged hard to ensure that the Natyanjali kept going year after year after it was begun here in a small way. Ramalingam's son, R Natarajan also in the Natyanjali Trust has followed in the steps of his father; he is a trained dancer and yoga guru.

The trustees are a close-knit group and despite differences put their heads together to host what is a fairly challenging event year after year.

Ramalingam has also played a role in the pre-Independence days, and is still respected by the elders in this town.

Both men were garlanded and honoured with ponnadais and both made handsome donations to the Trust - donating one lakh rupees each, a gesture which was roundly applauded this evening.

Journey from Reunion island . . .

A contingent from Reunion island, off Mauritius had its first taste of a dance festival outside home.
Six dancers and their guru, Uma Maheswari Someswaran and some 50 islanders converted the invitation to the Natyanjali to fly out on a Tamil Nadu tour.

So what is the Reunion-Chidambaram link?
Uma hails from this town, learnt dance here from guru Kalaiarasi and when her husband, a Tamil teacher got an assignment in Reunion flew out to a new world. She put her skills to good use, taking dance classes for the islanders at the  Association Muthamizh Alayam.

Dance, music and bhajans besides basic Tamil language classes are taken under the Alayam's banner, providing people who trace their roots to Tamil Nadu an opportunity to reconnect in a small way.

Uma says this is the second time that a Reunion dance troupe is performing at the Natyanjali. Our guess is that it will not be the last till the Chidambaram link remains on the island.

Bangalore's artistes . .

Day 2 at Chidambaram and we catch up with Bangalore-based dance guru and nattuvangam artiste Pulikesi Kasturi. He is here to support the recital of dancer Aishwarya Nityananda, a  student of guru Radha Sridhar.

Pulikesi runs his dance academy in Bangalore's now-busy Yeshwanthpura area, outside the Malleswaram neighborhood which is a cultural hub.

Bangalore seems to have better spaces and opportunities for young dancers today. "Nobody pays much but for up and coming dancers the platforms are many," Pulekeshi tells us.

Much like in Chennai, Bangalore's senior artistes are also USA-birds at this time of the year, flying West to run camps and classes and hold arangetrams.

Here at the Natyanjali, artistes from Bangalore get featured year after year. Kathak dancer Roopa Ravindran is scheduled to perform later today.

Photos here show Pulekeshi chatting with scholar-archaeologist R Nagaswamy and dancer Aishwarya backstage, after her recital.

Do we programme a Natyanjali?

Sitting in the dining hall this Monday, after lunch ( with lovely payasam as dessert) we look back at Day One of the Natyanjali and believe that it had a lame start, a pedestrian middle and a few decent recitals.
Plus, the whole programme did not grip people.
And, the attendance was average.

This is an anjali to the Lord of Dance. So, is programming a moot issue for the hosts and for secretary who handles this, A Sambandam.
Do we allow all those who seek to perfom here or mix it up - one item for juniors and some great production excerpts by the tall artistes of the land?

Late night of Sivaratri

It has been a frustrating challenge for us to keep the posts coming. The 3G line tests our patience. And at some point we give up!

We did so last night and chose to watch a group of senio dancers from Chennai - Revathi Ramachandran, Srelatha Vinod, Sushama Ranganathan and Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala do a solo each and then come together. A presentation by Nandini Ramani.

And then, Delhi based Odissi dancer Ranjana Gauhar. . .

And then, Priya Murle and a bunch of her juniors of Sree Bharatalaya, Chennai present ' Karuthandavar - they had performed this earlier in the evening at the Sri Kumbeswarar Temple in Kumbakonam and zipped down to Chidambaram.

Priya even did the nattuvangam for the Nandini Ramani group here.

Sivaratri promises a packed yard - it was not this Sunday evening. And inside the temple campus, dozens of people fought off arms and legs to grab free picture frames being given free by a bhakta.

What a dinner!

A tradition that the Chidambaram Natyanjali hosts follow is to dine together. Once the recitals are on stream, they adjourn in groups to an apartment or house just outside the temple and sit for dinner.

Each member of the Trust brings a couple of items from home. So you have a variety on the dining table.

On Sunday evening, invited to dine with them and the chief guests we had a feast - poli and sweet rice, lemon semiya mix, curd semiya, chappati and vegetable curry and idli and chutney.

The lemon semiya was wow but we held back - the night was going to be long. . .

Photos of Day One

These photos were taken on Sunday evening as the formal inauguration of the Natyanjali took place. Natyanjali Trust president advocate Natarajan on stage requested the S C Kuppuswami Dikshitar, a  senior priest at the temple who was a guest on stage to allow the Trust to extend the dance fest by a day.

Natarajan later told us that the requests from dancers to perform here was huge and accommodating them across four evenings was extremely difficult.

Over 250 artistes get featured at the festival here.

On the sidelines, we noticed a couple of armed men in uniform - said to be members of the Rapid Action Force and here to keep an eye since the gathering was large on Sivaratri night. A sniffer dog had done the rounds of the stage area and the fringes of the yard where people sit to watch the dances but the metal detector at the entrance to the yard was just a showpiece later in the evening.

Every dancer gets a small pack of Chidambaram's special prasadam. This year, the hosts arranged for bottles of bhoondi to be given to dance gurus and senior dancers.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Anirudh offers his anjali amidst swirling devotees

Sometimes, we are called to play a different role. Tonight, we helped create some space for dancer Anirudh Knight to dance inside the temple, in front of the sannidhi.

It was not easy. 9 p.m. on the clock and the temple is packed with streams of people, a yagna is in session and another is being prepared for 10.30 p.m. After all, it is Sivaratri night.

Anirudh has come here from Bangalore and his cousin from Chennai. Accompanying them is senior guru Adyar Lakshman, his brother and Lakshman's son, Baba Prasad.

Anirudh wanted to offer his anjali this evening and pushed for it. But it took time to navigate through the stream of devotees.

Dancing in the temple is special for all the dancers who are here for the dance festival and those who choose to be here quietly.

The swirling smoke got to the ageing Lakshman so we adjourned to a corner, and waited for the dancer. Hundreds of oil lamps had been lit all over the place and in the corridors rarely visited by the passing pilgrim.

Girish fought off the sweat and stuffiness and opened up with a Gopalakrishna Bharathi song and in seconds, the crowd parted and let Anirudh get into motion.

It was over in six minutes and the crowd swallowed us.

Down the corridor we met up with dancer Zakir Hussain, here for Sivaratri. In a week's time he is off to Dubai for a Indianised version of 'Cinderella'.

Annamalai Univ dancers date with the fest

Chidambaram keeps to some traditions. One - present the students of dance at Annamalai University on Day One of Natyanjali.

Annamalai has partly contributed to Chidambaram's growth, being a varsity campus though it gets into the newspapers nowadays for the wrong reasons - unrest, protests and stuff.

The small group of dancers under Uma Anand who did the nattuvangam this evening get a warm welcome and a bigger round of applause from fellow students when they complete their recital.

The mallari seems to be a favorite with Chidambaram - the students' concert starts with one.

Backstage, we meet journalist Prakash M Swamy who is based in the USA, is head of the Tamil Sangam there and is one of the guests at the inaugural function of the Natyanjali this evening.

The other guest is state secretary of the Art & Culture Department for Tamil Nadu - S S Jawahar.

Early evening pictures . . .

Grey stage on a bright sunny evening. Day One.

Grey greets us on the Natyanjali stage this Sunday evening.
The hosts had moulded a pleasing backdrop in Salem last year, inspired by local temple architecture.
It was a stone red color.

Now, they have turned into grey - guess it is on then advice of the Chennai Doordarshan team in order to get sharper visuals on camera!

Lighting professional Thennarasu, with a fractured leg is at his post - amazing is how these service providers up their facilities. When the lights come on at 6 p.m. now the lighting is soft.

We meet up with another Natyanjali regular - Pondy-based scholar B M Sundaram. He has been the emcee behind the screens for ages.

Chidambaram keeps to time. Mangala isai by a team from the neighbourhood Annamalai University and the first recital - Thaniya Kanika Mahalakshmi of Pondy.

The road to Chidambaram. This Sunday.

The drive to Chidambaram is so so familiar to us - after all, we at KutcheriBuzz have been covering then Natyanjali dance festivals for a decade now.

There are small pleasures on the way - our driver reccomends a highway-side eatery near Marakkanam for breakfast ( the idlis were really good but I turned down the offer of prawn curry!) and outside Chidambaram we split a juicy water melon.

It was 12.30 when we reached the town so it made sense to head to the community dining hall and Vagesan had 'sapad' ready for us - keerai and vadai - and news that his elder daughter has found a partner!

The Natyanjali grows on you.

Hotel Arudra, just outside the east gopuram of the temple has expanded. More new rooms. Being regulars, a three-bed room has been reserved for us. Good space for cameras, luggage and stuff.

Now for two hours of sleep . .

Friday, 8 March 2013

‘Karuththuaandavar’; dance production by sishyas of guru Sudharani Raghupathy

‘Karuththuaandavar’ is the dance excerpt that the sishyas of guru Sudharani Raghupathy will prsent at Chidambaram on March 10, late night..
The dancers are  Priya Murle, Preethi Ramaprasad, Deepthi Ravi, Aparajitha and Krithika Ravi
The orchestra is  Sharanya – vocal, Guru Bharadwaj – mridangam, Vijayaraghavan – violin and Sashirekha Balasubramaniam-- nattuvangam
A note on Karuththuaandavar theme line -

Lord Shiva, the auspicious one is the Divine aspect of the Supreme Being (Brahman of the Upanishads) that continuously dissolves to recreate in the cyclic process of creation, preservation, dissolution and recreation of the universe.
Lord Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger 
Karuthaandavar  is an offering to this dark hued Lord, who grants boons and bestowswisdom (karuththu) and purpose of life to his devotees.
Beginning with a traditional mallari, the dancers move on to the Thiruangamalai of Thirunaavukarasar - some beautiful verses by the saint poet that brings out the purpose of our  very existence . The saint emphasis how each part of the human anatomy exists to venerate the Lord. 

Anjali to the Lord; how to do it.

Dancers headed to Chidambaram look for that memorable experience - of dancing in front of the Lord in his space inside the temple.

You can do so with little fuss.

Just walk down to the inner space of the temple and choose a space on a raised level, facing the sannidhi and dance the way you wish to for this occasion.

Do not worry much about the endless stream of devotees and tourists who file past or crowd around this place.

You may click a few pictures but do so quietly, and do not aim the lens at the sannidhi.

You may dance at any time of the day or night. This is your anjali - so you must treat it as such.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Shiva-Parvati spectacle, in part

Sridevi Nrithyalaya of Chennai will be presenting an excerpt from its dance drama " Parvathy Parinayam" at the Thiruvarur Natyanjali dance fest on March 10 and later at Brahan Natyanjali, Thanjavur on March 14. 

Taken from the story of Siva Parvati kalyanam is this short dance drama which was staged by guru Sheela Unnikrishnan as a grand production, Parvathy Parinayam.

 The edited version, opens up with the narrators depicting the sequence of Dakshayani Dahanam and
the scene leads to the birth of Goddess as Parvathy to the King Himavan. She grows up to be a beautiful damsel and serves Siva, as He meditates in the Himalayas. Manmadha dahanam happens. Later, on the advice of Sage Naradha, Parvathy penances on Siva and wins over
Him and the grand wedding follows.

Twenty four young artistes of Sridevi Nrithyalaya participate in this dance drama, which runs for twenty minutes. Lyrics are by Kadhalmathy, music has been composed by Balabharathy and choreography by Sheela Unnikrishnan.