A step away from the norm

A step away from the norm
The 12th Drishti National Dance Festival was a visual treat for Bengalureans as it celebrated a variety of dance forms through vibrant performances at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. Conceptualised by bharathanatyam dancer Anuradha Vikranth and her husband T M Vikranth, the festival brought together world-class performers from the field of dance.

The festival opened with ‘Arpana’, a beautiful bharathanatyam presentation by the Drishti Dance Ensemble. Presented by Tincy, Shubha, Ramya, Aishwarya, Archana, Nandana and Apeksha, it was a traditional invocation offering obeisance to lord Ganapathi, the remover of all obstacles.

‘Mayura Sandesha’, a Nirupama-Chitra nritya by Anuradha Vikranth, was the highlight of the festival. Spectators erupted into an applause as Anuradha danced skillfully on a spread canvas, drawing a vibrant peacock with her feet using ‘rangoli’ colours. It was truly the magical moment of the performance.

“It is a solo dance narrative highlighting the longing of the tribal heroine Valli for her beloved hero Skanda. A unique ‘Chitra Nritya’ technique is introduced in this dance feature where the dancer dances on a spread canvas and while doing so, the image is drawn with her feet. Here, the peacock becomes Valli’s messenger to bring back her beloved. ‘Chitra Nritya’ is an age-old temple tradition followed by the priests and later adopted by the ‘devadasis’ and kuchipudi artistes. I used the elements of ‘Naatya Shaastra’ to adopt this technique in my performance,” explained Anuradha, ahead of the show.

‘Aakash’, a contemporary aerial choreography piece, was presented by Natya STEM Dance Kampni, directed by Madhu Natraj. “This is the third time that we are performing at the Drishti dance festival and one will get to see excerpts of our choreographic works spanning the last 10 years,” said Madhu before the show. The first performance ‘Aakash’ was based on a 14th century poem by Hazrat Amir Khusro and it looked at the connection between the earth and the sky, masculine and feminine and the individual and the divine.

The need to unite with the absolute power came true through the graceful movements of the dancers who invoked a ‘Sufi’ feel. ‘Nirvaya’, the solo kathak piece by Madhu Natraj, was based on the 12th century women mystics of Karnataka. ‘Sports’, the fun Indian contemporary piece, gave an insight into various sporting cultures through dance and was much appreciated by the audience. The last piece, ‘Sankalan’, meaning ‘amalgam,’ was a kaleidoscopic kathak piece.

‘Lasya Mohana’ by Gopika Varma and her ensemble was an enchanting presentation of mohiniyattam revolving around Gandhari and Draupadi. It also included two solo pieces, ‘Shapam’ and ‘Shapatham’, by Gopika Varma herself.

The cultural treat spanning a total of about three hours was a sheer delight for dance and culture enthusiasts in the city. On the occasion, Padmini Ravi from Bengaluru and Bala Devi Chandrashekar from the USA were also felicitated with ‘Drishti Puraskar’ for their contribution to the field of dance.
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