Celebrating yoga with dance

The sound of ghoongroo or ankle bells is unmistakable in a darkly-lit small hall with pin-drop silence and an audience of more than 80 people. As the performance starts with a melodious invoking of Lord Ganesha to the tune of Carnatic music by Sudha Raghuram and her crew, the performer, on stage matches the rhythm with exceptional brilliance.

It is none other than well known Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran, an exponent of this classical dance form. This performance holds the audience enraptured, from young to the old, from different cultures and from different walks of life. The expressions, the
aura and the inimitable charm of Chandran remains unquestionable, even after years in the field, conveying more about her personality as a believer in Yoga and its manifestations.

Dressed in a black ensemble with golden border and gold jewels, the scintillating performer emoted happiness, sadness, anger, thought, devotion and love with enchanting moves and mudras that took away years from her age. Chandran explained to the audience after the performance, “It is Yoga that has kept me in shape and has lent me flexibility and focus.”

As the week-long Yoga Parv was celebrated by Sangeet Natak Akademi, Rabindra Bhawan during June 21-27, the yoga and dance ensemble not only saw wide appreciation of the concept of yog in life but also of yog in natyam.

Chandran tells Metrolife, “It is metaphors in dance which amplify yogic practice. I wanted to explore ‘parallels’ as Bharatnatyam is linear in style. Also among all yogis, it is Lord Shiva who holds the saguna or the manifestation of God in form and nirguna or eternal, all-pervading and omnipresent divine consciousness. Along with literary poet Kabir’s notion of rhythm and poetry, I conceived this performance.”

The 20-minute performance also saw audience cheering for vocalist Sudha Raghuram and percussionists namely G Raghuram, Karaikudi Sivakumar and N V Chandrashekhar, who
received shawls as token of appreciation from Helen Acharya, the secretary of the centre.

Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s national academy for music, dance and drama, is the first national academy for arts set up by the Republic of India in 1952. It is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and is fully funded by the government for implementation of its schemes and programs. The festival had over 300 select works of art, dance and music performances, workshops and other presentations by more than 150 artistes from across India
and overseas.

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