Feb 24, 2007

Wonderful Dance Performances At Hyderabad

As I am beginning to explore the cultural and non-IT face of Hyderabad, I came across two cultural programs that were real gems performed at the Ravindra Bharathi .

One was a Dance Ballet (Nrutya Rupakam) on the life of Bhakta Ramadas, a revered 17th century poet-saint. This was performed by Ananda Shankar Jayant (pictured), who drew upon many of Ramadas's immensely popular and moving compositions (kritis) in Telugu. Titled "Sree Rama Nee Namam Emi Ruchira" the ballet was based on the Bharata Natyam style of dance. One of the most impressive pieces was "Takkuvemi Manaku" in which all the ten avatars of Vishnu are alluded to.

The second was an amalgam of the three South Indian dance forms: Mohini Attam (slow tempo), Bharata Natyam (slow/medium) and Kuchipudi (medium/fast), based on the theme of Shanmatham propounded by Adi Shankaracharya worshipping the six divine forms of Ganesha, Karthikeya, Shiva, Ambika, Vishnu and Surya. The exponents were Gopika Nair for Mohini Attam, Revathi Ramachandran for Bharta Natyam and Deepika Reddy (pictured here) for Kuchipudi. Each is an amazing danseuse in her own right - erudite, widely travelled and perfectionist. When they came togther as they did for three of the six dances, it was an amazing scene. The Ganesha Pancharatnam was the most impressive piece, based on Adi Shankaracharya's composition. The last piece, a Thillana worshipping the Sun God, was also a magnificent confluence of South Indian dance.

Both were part of the ten-day long 47th Annual Festival organised by the South Indian Cultural Association (I got to see only these two). Unlike most programmes at Ravindra Bharathi these were paid programs, but the price was well worth it. It was interesting to see some young people in the audience too (though the majority were gray haired).

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