08 December, 2012
Music and dance lovers gear up for the rich fare of concertsas December dawns in Chennai. The very air is resonant with swaras and sollukattus as each part of the city vies with another to present the best line up of concerts. If rasikas look forward to the cutcheris eagerly, the same holds true for the artists alsoas they set their tamburas or don the grease paint in readiness. A chat with some leading dancer - teachers shed light on their views as they step into the eventful Chennai Season.
Jayanthi Subhramaniam who is highly respected for her in-depth artistry will fulfil the dual roles of performer and instructor and says “The Chennai season is something every dancer looks forward to. But I feel that nowadays the excitement is less than what it used to be mainly because Chennai offers a rich fare of dance recitals through the year. No day goes by without a dance programme in some part of the city. It seems as though Season 2011 was just over! So I feel it just flows from one big festival to another.” she exclaims.
She goes on, “as far as some of our solo programmes are concerned, this year while I will be performing for Narada Gana Sabha on Dec 21,my daughter Sumitra Subhramaniam and my senior students will be presenting recitals under similar prestigious banners like The Music Academy. Besides, the new production Nauka Charitram which was premiered in March this year was specifically choreographed with the season in mind and has been fine-tuned with rigorous practiceover the months.”
A.Lakshman has garnered high praise as much for his elegant recitals as for his fluiddance pieces, now voices his candid ideas and concerns. “The season is a very enjoyable time for all artists. This is a time of tremendous artistic output but I feel that today there is so much to watch that my head simply whirls! Do I go to a concert hall in Mylapore at six o clock or at seven in another section of the city, say T. Nagar? How will I negotiate the traffic snarls? The situation is much more bewildering if my students have to perform at the same time at different venues. I am put in a dilemma – whom do I conduct nattuvangam for?” He asks, tongue in cheek.
“My main concern is that in spite of numerous natyam recitals, good performances in terms of artistic calibre and traditional values are few. Of course we have the top artists but as one can see from the line-up the same persons perform year after year. The search for fresher dancers of extraordinary excellence continues…” He goes on to share another worry, “I feel that many more male dancers should be performing. There are several male students but so few find the platform to perform.”
As a star performer, Priyadarshini Govind will don several hats this time–as those of awardee and convenor. She will be unveiling a thematic performance “AhamPuram based on Sangam poetry at Kartik Fine Arts on Dec 19th with inputs from Prof.Raghuraman and Rajkumar Bharathi and performing the classic margam at other venues. This will be performed for the first time in Chennai”. She states.
About the award she elaborates, “I am honoured at being conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Dec 14th. Close on the heels of this distinction follows my convening The Thirty Second Natyakala Conference titled “Samahit - when parallels meet” for Sri Krishna Sabha from Dec 26th to Dec 31st. This will feature an elaborate array of artists and experts for in-depth discussions.” Would she like to talk about some distinctive lyrics from her repertoire? “Well, I plan on presenting a special choreography in praise of Garuda for the first time in Chennai and am likely to present the Madhurashtakam for Bharat Kalachar” shesays.
Srekala Bharat is extremely animated about the season. The prominent dancer will be seen on many platforms and emits high energy levels when she discusses the busy calendar. She emphasises that “as always, I am keenly anticipating all the dance and music programmes and am looking forward to present both thematic and the margam patterns of concerts.”
Elaborating further she says, “themargam is a staple for me and this year it will revolve around an complex varnam, Kaanna Aavalaanaenae by the Tanjore Quartet in Kamboji and Rupakam. I have composed this lyric specially for this season. Another unusual composition will be on the god Surya which I intend to present as the Thillanna in raga Surya for which the music has been created by Rukmini Ramani. Further, my group production “Pancha Murthi Natanam” is dedicated to the five gods Ganesa, Muruga, Siva, Shakti and Krishna. My students will be showcasing their talents at solo platforms also” she concludes.
- Nayika V