A Bharatnatyam evening in Guwahati

Jagriti Baruah

An evening of Bharatnatyam namely Natya Dhwani 2018 was held in Guwahati recently. The programme was inaugurated by Nrityacharya Padmashree Jatin Goswami. Blessing the artistes on their new journey in the field of dance and while mentioning the experiments in Bharatnatyam in South India as well as other parts of the country, Goswami regretted in his inaugural speech that such experiments are rare to be seen in the Northeast of India. He said that it was refreshing to see two artistes of two different streams putting in their unique effort to introduce the novelties of the dance form to the local artistes.

Seuj Sandhya through her genre will benefit the local dance teachers and artistes. Under the aegis of Aditi Chakravarty, a disciple of Padmashree Pushpa Bhuyan and Bharat Natyam artiste Xeuz xondhya (Guru Vijay Kumar, Chennai, Guru Sujata Ramalingam, Kolkata, Padmabhushan Guru Dr. Saroja Vadyanathan and Kalaimamani Guru Rama Vadyanathan), another 13 artistes from Guwahati including artists from Nrityanjali Academy and Sai Nritya Darpan performed on the occasion. Many gurus from all over the country have been experimenting with Bharatanatyam, one of the major classical dance forms, in different parts of the country.

The genre of Seuj Sandhya, a disciple of Guru Saroja Vadyanathan and Rama Vaidyanathan, can be distinguished from other Bharatanatyam genres. The artiste duo, both organisers as well as performers, say that they have tried to provide through Natya Dhwani 2018 a common platform to regularly performing artistes. This platform is expected to graduate to a professional dance group. This platform of the local artistes will try to popularize the classical dance form by retaining its standard and skill. Still photographer Prabhakar Dey and Anjan Deka, both long associated with dance photography were felicitated during the dance evening. Senior Painter and Filmmaker Pulok Gogoi and Senior Cultural Activist Rajen Hazowari were also felicitated. The programme was anchored by Rana Kumar Changmai.

The dance evening began with a Mallari dance. 14 artistes took part in this dance based on Raaga Natei and Mishra Triput Taal. It was choreographed by Seuj Sandhya. There is a ritual to take rounds of temples in South India with Bigraha while dancing and singing and Mallari is performed at that time. Thereupon Seuj Sandhya performed a dance named Amritvarshini (Raag: Amritvarshini, Taal: Aadi). The dance was composed by Rama Vadyanathan. Waters, water cycle, clouds, rains etc. are described beautifully as elixir of the earth in this dance. Seuj has portrayed the picture of the nature with her commendable dancing skills, with exquisite rhythm, motion and gestures. Her mastery of acting and medium of expression could transport the spectators into a monsoon filled lap of nature.

After this Aditi performed Toriya Mangalam (Raag: Mallika, Taal: Mallika). It is a traditional dance form of Tanjore genre. This dance begins with the eulogy of Sita’s husband Lord Rama and at every level the artiste surrenders herself to the same lord, whose feet resemble lotus, one who defeats the demons, one who as Mukunda Madhab rides Gaduda, and one who incarnated as Narasimha to kill Hiranyakashipu. Seuj Sandhya performed her second solo dance ‘Devi’ (Raaga and Taal: Mallika) after this. Devi is the divine being, the greatness itself. Seuj’s strong dancing skills shown in this dance attracted all spectators. She portrayed how Devi Durga riding her lion killed Mahishashura. After this Kirtanam (duet), Shivastikam (group), Shankar Srigiri (duet), Madhurastikam and Mangalam were performed by various artistes. Barasha Goswami, Minati Lahkar, Parishmita Bhuyan, Priyanka Boro, Tanaya Patra, Ruhi Rabha, Gargi Rabha, Hiya Deka, Parishmita Goswami, Rupsha Bose, Bhavna Sharma, Ipshita Parashar and Shreya Sharma took part in these dance presentations.

Artistes Seuj Sandhya and Aditi Chakravarty have started experimenting with their two different individual genres in their duet performances. In future surely, this experiment will achieve a different level of expertise. During the dance evening lights were arranged by Actor Siddharth Mukherjee. The evening was graced by many renowned writers, painters, dramatists, performing artistes and connoisseurs.  Prabhakar Dey and Anjan Deka did the still photography while Prabin Kumar Nath took care of the art and design. May Natya Dhwani present more of such programmes in future!