A blend of styles

Dance Recital

The world premiere of Samhara, an international dance collaboration between the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and the Chitrasena Dance Company from Sri Lanka, was held recently at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. The entire proceeds of the concert will be donated to ‘AIM for Seva’, a trust that works with children.

Artistic: Dancers from Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and the Chitrasena Dance Company.

Choreographed entirely by Surupa Sen, the performance encapsulated two very different styles of dance – the graceful sensuality of odissi as well as the more masculine steps of kandyan, which is rumoured to have originated from an exorcism ritual.

The interplay between the two different schools of dance was truly a delight to watch.
While the dancers from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble included Surupa Sen, Bijayini Satpathy and Pavithra Reddy, the Chitrasena Dance Company was represented by Thaji Dias and Mithilani Munasingha.

The evening began with a brief inauguration ceremony, after which the emcee for the evening, Minku Buttar, took the stage and spoke a little about both the dance troupes.

Following this, the dancers entered the stage and began their spellbinding performance.
The first piece that was presented was called Arpana, and is a prayer to Goddess Parvati.

The piece combines the five elements: earth, air, fire, water and ether, and the dancers performed the piece in perfect synchronisation. Halfway through the piece, the dancers from the Chitrasena Dance Company joined the others on stage. Their steps were qualitatively very different from the style of odissi, being bolder and more masculine.

Dressed in colourful attire with elaborate hair-dos, they made quite a statement on stage.

The second piece that they performed was called Aalap, and had a much more vigorous rhythm to it. The dancers circled the stage, and then the pace slowed down and their movements became softer.

The interaction between the odissi and kandyan dancers was a treat to the eyes. At one point, all the dancers on stage froze except for one of the kandyan dancers, who performed a graceful solo to the staccato beat of a dhol.

At one point, she dropped to the floor and mimicked playing a board game, complete with throwing the dice. The dance ended on an energetic note, with the dancers circling the stage in their respective styles.

Nandini, a member of the audience, said that she was very impressed by the performance. “This is the first time I’ve seen this kind of collaboration. I think it’s been done very nicely. It’s interesting, because both the styles are very graceful, but very different. The kandyan dancers seem wilder somehow,” she explained.

Aruna Madnani, the coordinator at AIM for Seva, said, “I loved the show. It was stunning in terms of choreography, synchronisation, calibre and the way the dancers emoted.”

AIM for Seva has a children’s home in Yelahanka, and the members of the troupe have taken up the responsibility of teaching the children dance once a week. “It’s not just about the dance, but this style of excellence is also a value that will be added to the children, which they can carry on for the rest of their lives. Nrityagram has also been very generous in terms of funds, since all the proceeds of the concert will come to AIM for Seva.”

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