Celebrating Tyagaraja

A group of dancers paid tribute to his compositions

A colourful garland was strung together, emanating the fragrance of devotion to Saint Tyagaraja on Pushya Bahula Panchami day. It has been 25 years since Kala Pradarshini started its annual dedication to cherish the timeless classical compositions of Saint Tyagaraja.

In this aradhana hosted by Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, artistic director of Kala Pradarshini, 20 students presented Tyagaraja kritis through dance.

The event began on a customary note with an invocation to Ganesha in ‘Sri Ganapatini’ in ragam Saurashtram by Manasa Vijay Chander and Gowthami Ashok, disciples of Radhika Shurajit. Simple, straightforward choreography with brisk footwork and detailing of puja rituals was reproduced by the dancers. This piece was unique as others focused on Rama and Vishnu.

Flawless araimandi

Smriti Krishnamurthy, Anjali Hariharan and Nutana Nair, disciples of Anitha Guha, danced to ‘Nagumomu’ in Abheri. Picturesque depiction of Gajendra moksham, Garuda vahana, Govardhana giridhari and the end pose of Rama and Sita with Tyagaraja at the feet was impressive. The faultless araimandi was noteworthy.

Deepanjali Suresh, Janani and Malarvizhi, disciples of Binesh Mahadevan, performed ‘Ksheerasagara sayana’ in Devagandhari. The dancer who performed the ocean interestingly transformed into Vishnu for Gajendra moksham. Draupati vastraharan and the portrayal of Garudan and Vishnu reclining added to the visual dimension.

‘Brochevarevare’ was a solo presentation by Sneha, who executed the jatis and the swaras with trained ease. The end pose of Rama in his characteristic stature was appealing. It was an opportunity to choreograph many interesting kritis. On the music team were Nandini Anand (vocal), M. Dhananjayan (mridangam) and Vishvesh (violin).

In the second segment of the aradhana, Parvathi’s disciples Gayatri, Vallabhi and Tejaswini presented ‘Srirama Srirama’ in Sahana. The piece was an interesting mix of brisk swaras and fast-forward flashes of Ramayana scenes like Sita Kalyanam, Bharata receiving paduka, etc., right up to Rama Pattabishekam — all in capsule form.

Saswati, disciple of Mahalakshmi Ashwin, presented ‘Sri Raghuvara.’ Her footwork was notable and she portrayed the scenes of Rama breaking the bow and Sitaharan effectively. A spirited duet by D. Dileep and Daphni Rajavel, disciples of Sailaja, came next, with mercurial movements marking ‘Balakanakamaya’. Contrasting in mood and content was ‘Nidhi Chala Sukhama’ by Rukmini Induri, disciple of Indu and Nidheesh. The spiritual stand of Tyagaraja was brought out in this solo abhinaya piece emotively sung by Nandini Anand.

A melodic ‘Pavanaja Stutipatra’ in Kurinji was a solo presentation by Ritwika; depiction of the marriage complete with unjal, etc., was charming. The artistes of the second segment had music support from Kaushik on the vocal, Haribabu on the mridangam, and R. Kalaiarasan on the violin. Last but not the least came ‘Nanu Palimpa’ by Dr. Shahana Selvaganesh, disciple of Roja Kannan. Parur M. S. Anantashree was on vocal support.

The Mumbai-based author

writes on music and dance.

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