Tribute to doyen of ‘abhinaya’

Last Updated 29 March 2019, 19:56 IST

A dance performance will be presented as a tribute to Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan by Prasiddha Foundation on Saturday.

Padmashri Prathibha Prahlad, the managing director and artistic director of Prassidha Foundation, says that the performance ‘Ashta Nayikas & Chaturvidha Nayakas’ will showcase the various emotions that women go through in their relationships with men.

“The concept is an exploration of man-woman relationships and the various emotions that one goes through in a relationship. A woman in anticipation, in sorrow, feeling betrayed, angry, asking a man to get out of her life and feeling repentant are all explored here,” she says.

Prathibha adds, “The piece explores how relationships keep changing. It has four different heroes; one who is extremely loyal to his wife, one who despite being loyal is a philanderer, one who is unrepentant about his philandering ways and is with multiple women, and one who despite having multiple women in his life, apologises and goes back to his primary love.”

The performing artists include B Bhanumathi, Padmini Ravi, Padmaja Suresh, Susheela Mehta, Sheela Chandrashekar, Kiran Subramanyam, Deepak Mazumdar, Praveen Kumar and Lakshman Swamy.

“I went to Chennai and trained under Kalanidhi Narayanan. I used to bring her to the city for dance workshops in the 90s, where a lot of dancers learned from her. The dancers in this performance are artistes who have learned from her,” she says.

Asked if the performance has a personal connect, she says, “You cannot separate the dance from the dancer. But the piece is not a life story. Though it is being performed to poetry by Kshetrayya, Jayadeva, Pattabhiramayya or Sarangapani, it is still relevant today,” she says.

Having done more than 5,000 performances across the world, Pratibha says that this evening would be special as it “is a tribute to a doyen of abhinaya”.

“Indian dance is special as it not only communicated through the body but also the face. Facial expressions and emotions are an integral part of classical dance. Kalanidhi Narayanan concentrated on this aspect of dance,” she says.

Pratibha, who has performed for more than 40 years, feels dance has evolved tremendously but there’s a lack of commitment in today’s dancers.

(Published 29 March 2019, 12:17 IST)

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