Beautiful adaptation of a poem

Odissi Steps

Beautiful adaptation of a poem

Maha-Maya, the centenary celebrations of U S Krishna Rao, saw one of the most renowned dancers of the country coming down to the City. Odissi dancer Sonal Mansingh floored Bangaloreans with her grace and effortless style.

Giving a brief introduction to her performance, she says, “It is a great honour for me to have been called to perform for the centenary celebrations of ‘sir’ (Krishna Rao). I learnt more than the art from ‘sir’ and ‘aunty’ (Chandrabhaga Devi) as I used to address them. I was very lucky to train under him and want to pay homage to him.”

She performed an odissi piece called Magdallena Mariam based on a poem written by a Malayalam poet. “This Odissi performance is based on the Malayalam poem Mariam, which talks about Mary Magdalene. She is as beautiful as the moon and her gait is as elegant as a swan. One day, she hears sounds from the street and as she opens the window, her gaze gets fixed on the leader of the procession, Jesus Christ. She decides to follow him and wipe his feet with her tears. Christ tells her that in her sacrifice lies her redemption,” she explains.

Sonal’s performance stunned everyone. Dressed in a simple red sari and almost devoid of embellishments that a dancer adorns herself with, she was successful in creating magic through her dance and expressions.

Seamless and fluid steps, hand gestures and the excellent use of lights made it a perfect treat.

The audience was glued to their seats and could be seen following each and every movement of the danseuse.

The original poem was translated into Hindi by Mansingh, music was added to it and then fused with Odissi bols and thekas.

The show ended with a huge round of applause for the dancer. “I was surprised to see how simple yet powerful her performance was. It is an experience to watch her, it was as if she was narrating a poem through her expressions. I am glad that she chose to come to Bangalore,” says Kavitha, who attended the programme.

This performance was followed by a bharatanatyam performance by Harish Raman, a kuchipudi recital by Prateeksha Kashi and the show ended with a kathak performance by Nadam ensemble, led by Nandini K Mehta and K Murali Mohan.

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