Enchanting choreography of Tagore's compositions

Aesthetic Sensibilities

Four eminent choreographers – Rama Vaidyanathan with Dakshina Vaidyanathan (Bharatanatyam), Padma Shri Shovana Narayan (Kathak), Padma Shri Bharati Shivaji (Mohiniyattam) and Santosh Nair (Mayurbhanj Chhau and Contemporary), came together on stage to bring alive Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s compositions in the best of Indian dance form.

The event, Fancy and Fantasy, held earlier this week was conceptualised by Padma Shri Dr Utpal Banerjee, who has translated Tagore’s satirical and whimsical rhymes, unknown so far outside Bengal, into four volumes of English poems that were launched at the event. 

Famous Kathak dancer Shovana Narayan interpreted one of the verses from the Khapchhada series of Rabindranath Tagore. She chose the piece on Motilal Nandi, a character that we can all identify with. Very often in our lives, learning of grammar and vocabulary have left us frustrated. So was the case with Motilal Nandi.

Dakshina Vaidyanathan performed an act ‘Rabibar’, a child’s innocent complaint about why Sunday takes a long time to come! Filled with humour, the poem was enacted through Bharatanatyam.  

Rama Vaidyanathan presented ‘Shishu Bholanath’ which was about a mother engaging with her naughty and vivacious child who goes around destroying everything around him. Here Bholanath is referred to as Lord Siva who destroys to recreate. 

Both poems have been taken from the Mother and Child volume. 

Danseuse Bharati Shivaji along with her students - Olga, Lakshmi Ramakrishnan and Deepthi Nair presented an extract from ‘Janmakatha’, where the mother is constantly asked by her child where she picked him from? Astonished by his queries, she explains how from the very beginning of the evolution of the Universe he has been with her.

Dancers from the Sadhya group presented a piece titled ‘Kalpnik' based on two of Tagore’s poems from the fantasy volume namely The Dream (Swapan) and There was a Tiger ( Ek Chhilo Bagh). 

The poem Swapan is about the magical dream of a child to become a winged cloud and Ek Chhilo Bagh brings forth the innovation of the poet in which a tiger talks in human language and displays all human emotions. The choreography revolves around the dream of an individual who falls asleep while reading the fantasy volume and how the readings reflect in his dreams creating a fiction of its own. 

On the occasion, dancer Rama Vaidyanathan said, “It was interesting to work on Utpal Da’s translation of Rabindranath Tagore's poetry. He made the translations so simple and direct, exactly what a dancer needs to choreograph.” 

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