Perfect postures light up the evening

devoted dancer

The ‘Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme’ at the Yavanika State Youth Centre encourages a wide range of performances, such as Hindustani classical and Carnatic music concerts, as well as various forms of Indian dance.

The programme, presented by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Department of Kannada and Culture, and the Department of Youth Services and Sports, Youth Writers and Artists Guild, has been promoting diverse forms of Indian fine arts for nearly 30 years.

This weekend, the audience was left enthralled by H R Unnath’s solo bharatanatyam performance at the Centre. The artiste from Hassan performed with his guru Rajaeshwari playing the nattuvangam, Karthik Hebbar on the vocals, Satyaprasad on the mridangam, and masters Hemanth and Heramba on the flute.

Dressed in royal blue with a few simple gold chains, the dancer made such good use of the entire stage that the audience did not even miss additional performers. From romantic scenes by the river, to desperation in the middle of a forest, Unnath’s fluid movements were able to bring out story after story, without the young dancer tiring. Till the very end of the performance, his expressions were emotive — love, joy, anger, distress, relief and devotion.

What was more commendable than just a terrific performance was his show-must-go-on spirit. “My guruji, my vocalist and I weren’t feeling well earlier. In fact, we didn’t even expect to do the show tonight,” he admits, describing how the performance was only confirmed an hour before it was supposed to begin. “In fact,” adds the humble dancer, “Most of the choreography was done on stage, as I improvised the movements.”

Having started dancing at the age of six, Unnath was enough of a veteran to hide this fact from the audience through his confident stances and perfect postures.
Rajaeshwari, who has mentored Unnath for 22 years, was beaming with pride as she awarded her disciple with a few simple, but meaningful words of praise. “We call it sarthaka,” she explains, continuing, “My life has been made meaningful just by watching him dance.”

While commenting about the unexpectedness of the performance, she adds graciously, “The traditional arts are a form of puja to god. With faith and devotion towards a power, everything moves smoothly and this evening’s performance was an excellent example of that.”

Unnath, too, believes that the traditional art operates on a higher plane. “Nowadays,
dance has become about too many technicalities and perfection,” he shakes his head. Then he adds, philosophically, “We evolve with the art. We can’t shape it, it shapes us. To me, dance is an inner language. It drives me to another world and motivates me to follow the divine path.”

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