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Dance > Review
Natya Kala Conference Commenced
28 December, 2013

- Sukanya Kumar

The 33rd Natya Kala conference hosted by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (KGS) was inaugurated by Prof C V Chandrasekhar on December 26. The theme of the conference was ‘Rhythm and Vibes’. “Rhythm is all pervading,” said Nritya Choodamani Priyadarsini Govind, the convener who welcomed and requested the guests of honor to light the lamp and thereby the minds and thoughts.

“We are all born with some sort of rhythm. It is inborn like the heartbeat. It is universal,” began Prof C V Chandrasekhar. He opined that in Bharatnatyam there is a lot of overdoing nowadays more than what the style demands. Growth, he said should not leave the original far behind. He stated the message that the nritta aspect of Bharatnatyam be, not complicated but made beautiful.

He released the NKC souvenir which Priyadarsini Govind said “is not a mere keepsake but a cauldron of thoughts and artistic experiences.”

Introducing the guest of honor Dr Sunil Kothari, she spoke of his long standing career as critic with twelve books to his credit and counting, documenting art and artistes. It was appropriate to honor this valuable asset to dance community on his 80th birth anniversary year.  Acknowledging the affectionate gesture, Sunil Kothari said he felt blessed and deeply touched. A chartered accountant by profession and dance critic by passion, he said that “compared to accounting figures, dancing figures are so demanding.”  Y Prabhu, Secretary of KGS proposed the vote of thanks.

The first presentation of the conference was Sreerama Aggithaya’s  “Thidambu Nrityam” straight from the temples of North Malabar where “Each circumlocution is regulated by different rhythm,” as introduced by Priyadarsini Govind. The highlight was the Kotti Uraikkal to make the dancer possessed. It was a session of sounds, taalam, chenda melam, maddalam and the dancer carrying the bedecked divine idol on his head, dancing to the beats. Quick one legged movements, scurrying around the stage, the beats rising to a crescendo of rhythm, the interesting portion was the kuraippu. The whole show was one of good energy.

The Parashah group comprising of senior artistes like Roja Kannan, Priya Murle, N Srikanth and Ashwathi presented lecture demonstration on Alar Chapu: Rhythm in invocation. The orchestra sang the melaprapti followed by alarippu in Tisra Dhruva taalam demonstrated by the four dancers from three different schools sticking to their individual style yet showcasing coordinated dance movements. “Our lecture demonstration more than being scholarly is based on experiences. There is rhythm everywhere, rhythm in silence, in the pitter patter of rain, in nature, in plants and so on. If the heart does not beat properly it is referred to as arrhythmic heart,” said Priya Murle.

“Art forms change with vicissitudes of time. Even the simple has to be decorated,” opined Murle.

Roja Kannan and N Srikanth took turns to explain other invocatory pieces.

“Earlier the Melaprapti would only be sung but later it came to be adapted to dance. The pushpanjali is danced to invoke protection to the artistes and removing the negative. Thodayamangalam are compositions invoking gods in the Bhajana sampradaya tradition by saintly composers.  It is invocation in Kathakali. It could also just be sung.”

Roja Kannan and Priya Murle danced apiece the compositions of Annamacharya and Purandaradasa.

“Mallari signals the commencement of procession of the deities to the sounds of Nadaswaram and tavil,” said N Srikanth who with Ashwathi presented a mallari in tisra triputa taalam.

Nandi chol describes the sound of the mridangam played by nandi. Two different versions of Nandi Chol was demostrated

“Kauthuvam came much later. They are hymns about any deity interspersed with sollukattu describing the deity, its place, vahana, weapons and other insignia,” said Ashwini in her segment of lecture. Natesa Kauthuvam of Gangaimuthu Nattuvanar was presented by Roja Kannan and Priya Murle.

They concluded the lecture demonstration with a pushpanjali, opening number of their production “Matru Devo Bhava” where Shakti was exalted. The orchestra comprising of singer Shrikant, Nattuvangam Sharanya, Mridangam Vedakrishnan and Flute Sruti Sagar enhanced the lecture demonstration.  

Day one of NKC set the pace for the five days to come.


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