9th edition of annual dance festival Aekalavya held in Kuala Lampur

By Tapati Chowdurie, Kuala Lampur: Artistic Director Saswat Joshi founder of Lasyakala Dance Vision and his Odissi troupe held the 9th edition of their annual dance festival Aekalavya as a tribute to Guru Shishya Parampara on 20th March in Malaysia in association with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indian Cultural Centre, High Commission of India. This is the first time Lasyakala has thought globally and delivered Indian Classical dances to an international audience to celebrate their Annual Day. The performance was held at Shantanand Auditorium of The Temple of Fine Arts. The repertory members of Lasyakala, who performed with Saswat Joshi were Ananya Mihir, Akankashya Kumari, Asima Priyadarshini, Jagruti Rath, Bibhudatta Das and Subhadra Sushmita. The group flagged off the festival comfortably in all humility, urging the manifestations of Devi, worshipped by mortals in the length and breadth of the country to bless the show and of course themselves.
Guru Dr. Ileana Citarishti performed solo. Manisha Gulyani who was last year’s Aekalavaya awardee came all the way from Jaipur to join the troupe in Kuala Lampur with her kathak dance. Sandhya Manoj who was the co-winner of The Aekalavya award along with Bharatanatyam Guru Shankar Kandaswamy were excellent dancers. Sandhya Manoj has dabbled with dance forms such as Mohiniattam with its flowing, languorous slow movement-of her own state- and Bharatanatyam before She fell in love with Odissi and started pursuing it seriously. Every year she has Guru Ratikant Mohapatra train her. She won the hearts of the audience with the oft performed Dasam Mahavidya, which is of course a classical story and one truly never tires of seeing it. The ferocious rupas were authentically showcased as were the softer emotions.
It is amazing to note that Guru Shankar Kandaswamy born and bred in Kuala Lampur with no trace what so ever of having learnt Bharatanatyam in the heart land of the form, is among the finest performers of the genre. It was not difficult to judge his calibre within minutes of his ongoing performance of Adi Shankaracharya’s Ardhanareeswar. From Sringar rasa with his female side on his left to shantam rasa where they represent the mother character and father character were spoken in the language of Bharatanatyam with absolute clarity keeping to the geometric lines that Kalakshetra is well known for. Knee-flexed bending positions were awesome. The abhinaya was challenging but he was able to live up to it. The presence of Ganga on Shiva’s locks and the ornaments worn on each side of his body was emulated to perfection. He confessed that he was not trained by any single guru.
Kathaka Praveen Gangani had his wits about him when he was asked to present Kathak for this prestigious evening. A Kathak recital without a tabla accompanist to display its various nuances is like playing a soccer match without a ball. But he solved the problem with a jugalbandi in teentaal with Kathak dancer, also of Jaipur gharana, Manisha Gulyani reciting the bols. The audience was invited to clap the beats he displayed. This was magical the audience became enthusiastic and matched up to the dancer’s request and in turn this created a positive feeling all around.
The messiah of Odissi Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra practically created everything from scratch. Nothing came to him in neat packages. So was it with all his choreographic works. The intense feeling of the nine rasas inherent in all mankind was brought out by him through the metaphor of Shiva and this was presented verbatim by his disciple Dr. Ileana Citaristi, the much revered guru of Saswat Joshi. From Sringar rasa felt by Shiva for his consort Parvaty on his left, displayed with many an imagery followed by his amused feeling on seeing his son Ganesha out-smarting Kartikeya, and his emotions of compassion and anger and heroism and fear shown suitably with instances from Shiva’s life were presented like a lesson well imbibed as were the other emotions of disgust, wonder and peace felt by mortals.
Saswat Joshi put his best foot forward in the piece titled Rain. Literally he soaked in it , like all nature. With a thorough knowledge of the language of Odissi which is closest to his heart, he expressed his emotions of his love for the monsoon season, his first love. Manisha Gulyani among the best Kathak dancers of the younger generation, has a natural love for the spring season. The Radha Krishna theme and the festival of colours or holi recapitulated a happy scene of one-up-man-ship between the gopis and Radha on one side and Krishna on the other. Mock anger and smearing of dry colours as well as colours mixed in water sprinkled on each other from strategic corners were pleasant sights. The pirouettes of Kathakas have always intrigued audiences. Here too there were thunderous clapping each time she swirled with her beautiful ghagra opening out flower-like. Manisha’s impersonations of all the characters were seamlessly woven.
Jhilik Bhattacharya has a penchant for dance. It could be nurtured under a strict guru.

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