Krishnaarpanam

Krishnaarpanam, presented, directed and choreographed by Aruna Gandhi of Silambam School of Indian Classical Dance to mark the School’s tenth anniversary was one of the best performances I have seen in sometime to come. Engaging, colourful and scintillating from the word go !

Opting to get straight into it, after a brief introduction to the event by Aruna Gandhi and a welcome speech by Diane Grant, Head of Department of Education and Dance, Australian College of Physical Education, the event commenced and continued without a break for two hours.

During Krishnaarpanam by Silambam at Science Theatre, UNSW, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia on 20/10/2019. Photo: Binu Naikaraparambil #BinuPhotographySydney

An adaptation of her Guru Sudharani Raghupathy’s popular and well acclaimed production ‘Krishnam Vande Jagath Gurum’ which travelled extensively all around the world, Aruna Gandhi said it has been her dream to work on this improvised and re-choreographed work with her students over the past year.

Keeping in mind the various capabilities and talents of many students of the School, a select few who passed the rigours of dedication and commitment joined in their journey of Krishnaarpanam.

Was it two hours ? I wouldnt know. Mixed age groups, mixed levels of talents and I have often heard teachers mourn how do we put them up and present a show which stands out as a cut above the rest.

During Krishnaarpanam by Silambam at Science Theatre, UNSW, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia on 20/10/2019. Photo: Binu Naikaraparambil #BinuPhotographySydney

There was no such issues at this event. Students performed their adavus in complete harmony and disciplined coordination with an uncanny athleticism and beauty – much like synchronised swimmers – their unified movements drew the audience in, absolutely a sight to behold !

If Love does not define such moments what will ? But technically speaking, not a step or a hand movement was out of place of all the dancers. It was like watching droves of birds fly in complete unison. The formations changing forming and re-changing and reforming within nano seconds to perfection. All equidistant and covering every part of the stage, occurring in perfect rhythm and in absolutely clean postures. If lines could be drawn on the patterns created by the footsteps of these dancers we would have seen a kaleidoscope of colours and dimensions.

Interspersed with solo performances by Guru Aruna Gandhi as ‘Andaal’, Vidya Karnamadakala as Naaradha ; Shivakamy Ayngkaran as Meera, each of these solo dancers extolled stories from the texts of Krishnashtakam taking the production to newer heights.

Musical genius was evident in the compositions and arrangement by none other than Vidwan Madurai N Krishnan

The production was a feast to the eyes with such delightful choreography that it brought a smile on many a face.

Aruna Gandhi was successful in bringing the best in all her students, keeping the steps and adavus simple for some and complex for the advanced students yet maintaining an interesting and vivid choreography.

During Krishnaarpanam by Silambam at Science Theatre, UNSW, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia on 20/10/2019. Photo: Binu Naikaraparambil #BinuPhotographySydney

The tasteful and fabulous costuming and make up of all students, the dramatic and full use of lighting, designed to minutest detail by Aruna Gandhi and Ananda Galagali, added dimensions to the show that exalted it to a professional level.

Ultimately, the attention to detail and the dedication of the students and their parents, saw the fruition of Krishnaarpanam, a dream of ten years come true for Silambam School of Indian Classical Dance.

At one stage I could not make out which of the dancers were in their beginning stages of development and which were advanced. As the music the choreography and the simply stunning costumes drew me in, the story telling began, I soon lost myself in Krishna – the ever present, joyful, playful, mischievous, the lover and confidante of Radha.

Over the last ten years, Aruna Gandhi has been working tirelessly in bringing Bharathanatyam to the local residents of Liverpool Sydney. She has generously shared and spread her knowledge and love for the artform. Silambam School of Dance operates in the south western areas of Campbelltown, Casula, Liverpool. The school has now opened branches in North Sydney and continues to grow.