Rural, intl touch to heart-warming 'Nritya Sapthaha'

When the change in patronage of fine arts shifted from wealthy zamindars, kings to sabhas, institutions and individuals, the profile of the rasikas , the presentation from the artistes and the art itself in a broader sense changed. The spirituality, purity and elaborations paved way to entertainment, amalgamation of different styles, short and  brisk or compact presentations . 

Dr Rashmi Kalkunda performs at the Nruthyagiri Sapthaha in Mysore. The shift of dance from Devadasis to public stage too has seen innumerable changes that has been accepted by the public. There are a few purists who would never compromise on maintaining the classicism and their ideals in their respective fields of specialisation. But it looks strange for a young dancer who is filled with all the ideologies of the art field in today’s commercial world. It is much stranger to see her arranging  seven days of dance and music festival without the backup of any financial aid or sponsors, by no means an easy task. Yet this young and talented dancer from Mysore is doing this herculean job consistently for the fourth year.

Meet Vidushi Kripa Phadke, a versatile personality of an able organiser, perfect dancer, good choreographer, an expert veena player and above all, a good human being. A senior disciple of Natya Guru K Muralidhara Rao, Kripa believes in carrying on the legacy and spreading the good values of life. The sound of Chande, played by her grandfather probably inspired her to learn a rhythmic form of art like Bharathanatya. It is heartening to know that her family shifted from Belthangadi, a small place near Udupi to Mysore when she wanted to pursue dance.( Her husband Vijaykumar does not accept promotion for the sake of avoiding transfers !).

To this day her father Sri Gangadhara Phadke and mother Uma are her source of inspiration when it comes to compromising with the ideologies. With the family trust, she started ‘Nrityagiri’, an academy of performing arts and research centre. She teaches free of cost to nearly 15 students who come from poor families. Her nearly 100 students are ready to work for the success of ‘Nritya Sapthaha,’ the brainchild of Kripa. This was the fourth year of this Sapthaha. Kripa gives equal importance to music without which she says there can’t be dance. So, almost every day of the Sapthaha there is a music concert too. Another main feature of this unique festival is that, artistes are selected from every nook and corner of our state, thereby providing stage for rural students also.

This year the Nritya Sapthaha featured artistes from Pandavapura, Hassan, Udupi, Davanagere and Mangalore apart from Mysore, Chennai and Bangalore.

Each day there were three slots, two for dance and one for music. International artistes like Pt Salil Bhat from Jaipur and Vyjayanthi Kashi, the chairperson of Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy happily performed in the Sapthaha. The music concerts  included a Nadaswara recital by Mysore V Krishnamurthy, Sathwik Veena by Salil Bhat, vocal by R N Srilatha, a veena and violin by S V Sahana and A P Shrinivas and the Karnataka Police Band.

The Department of Kannada and Culture and few dance lovers have lent  a helping hand in making this mega event that went on from February 10 till 16 at the Centenary hall of Saradavilas College. Kripa Phadke  certainly deserve an applaud for balancing art , organising, planning, choreographing, performing, teaching and being creative.

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