A Uniting cause brought to fruition the joint efforts of two dancers continents apart, Aruna Iyengar, a passionate dancer and exponent of the Kuchipudi from Australia and Srikanth Subramaniam, a professional Bharathanatyam dancer from Yorkshire UK, in the production of Shiva Shakti.
The cause driven event also brought Australia ‘a step’ closer to India, with proceeds from the event dedicated by dancers to Opportunity International Australia. With none other than Kristina Kenneally at the helm for the evening, the evening’s message was firmly pronounced, that every human has immense potential to turn their fate around with a little help.
Kristina Kenneally the ambassador for Opportunity International Australia, presented the entrepreneurial ventures established to assist women in the slums of india who with a mere $100 micro financing opportunity had commenced small scale viable sustainable businesses improving the lives for their families and themselves.
Kristina’s speech was heart warming and was received with a grand applause.
What followed was a feast to the eyes as the auditorium swelled with the sounds of the Shanmukhapriya, with an energetic masculine rendition of the temple procession that almost marched into the stage with Srikant Subramaniam, as Kartikeya, the lord of war and wisdom. He extolled in dance the many traits of the great Muruga. His swift leg movements, perfect aramandi and energetic expressive muscle body mind composition was captivating.
The Varnam is a central piece of a usual performance, and Aruna Iyengar excelled once again in the rendition of Mathe Malayadhvaja describing through the graceful movements of Kuchipudi, the birth of the Goddess, Shakti, the mother of Ganesh and Muruga, who destroys the evil demon. Vocals in Sangeetha Ayyar’s voice was exquisite accompanied by Janakan Suthathiraraj on the Mridangam, Mohan Ayyar on the keyboard, making it complete.
The next two pieces of Gangadhiswari danced by Shrikant depicted his ability to play both the masculine and feminine roles, in describing the dynamic union of Shiva the destroyer and Ganga, the ganges giver of life who is tied in his head locks
The ardhanarishwari was by far the crowning jewel in the production for excellent choreography and immaculate sculpturistic poses by both Aruna and Shrikant. Describing the confluence of feminine and masculine energies, the root of all creation. Set to the beautiful lyrics of Muthuswami Dikshitar in Sikkil Gurucharan’s voice, the piece saw the uniting forces of theatre and dance, kuchipudi and bharathanatyam come together.
The plated fete, a visual and physically challenging dance on a brass plate performed by Aruna was breath taking in Sankara Sri Giri. The various rhythmic jathis that Aruna dances to on the plate made it interesting as audience looked in amazement at the ease with which she performed.
The Varnam danced by Shrikant in Nee Manamirangi exposed the bharathanatyam repertoire further, bringing the nritta aspect of the dance with the abhinaya. A visual poetry Shrikant’s almost atheletic approach to bharathanatyam was fresh and rejuvenating.
The subsequent pieces in the programme, spilled with bhavam and grace by Aruna in Sri Chakra Raja, bouncing jumping oscillating between expression, nimble footwork was Shrikant’s Omkara in Ragam Lavangi an all time favourite. The tillana and the mangalam saw the coming together of both dancers in a joyous celebration of each of their styles.