Madhuram Academy of Performing Arts brought acclaimed dancers of international repute, Bharathanatyam dancer Uma Satyanarayana, Odissi dancer Lingaraj Pradhan, and Kathak dancer Anuj Mishra to our shores this year.
Held at Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta, the show was a sold out success, indicating the need for events which foster many different diverse genre’s of Indian traditional dance forms.
The Academy encouraged local talent by providing opportunities to the senior students of Mayura Academy of Dance who performed Kuchipudi style of dance in the afternoon of the day long festival.
The evening commenced with the Odissi Dancer, Lingraj Pradhan who has performed with the famous Rudrakshya Troupe of Bhubaneshwar, India. Winner of prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Pruskar award from Sangeet Natak Academy, Lingraj is the favourite male Odissi dancer for most of critics and connoisseurs of India, the Americas and Europe.
Commencing his performance with a Ganesh Vandana and moving to his depiction of his interpertation of the controversial character from the epic Mahabharatha, Karna.
Shyamhari Chakra, well respected dance enthusiast and critic wrote “Lingaraj Pradhan was the star attraction of the festival … as he enacted the mythical character of Karna … transition from fire to tears in his eyes besides his incredible body language … the audience came across the epic hero in flesh and blood on the stage”.
Lingaraj won hearts by disproving that despite being a male he could dance as gracefully as any female odissi dancer. Graceful yet powerful, flowing yet precise, he seemed to work across varying extremes excelling in drawing his audience in with his emotive expressions.
Lingaraj presented his Pallavi in Raag Devagandari in a talamalika followed by Karna’s dharma – he asks “where was justice when my mother abandoned me ?” where was justice when my upbringing prevented me from getting the education ordained for a kshatriya?, where was justice when my Gurus disowned me ?” Despite these he laments if I were to be reborn I would wish to be reborn as Karna and Karna alone. A powerful and emotional theme, Lingaraj excelled in taking the audience into the life and mind of the warrior Karna. He concluded his performance with a composition of ‘Maha Kotha Namosthuthe’ in depicting the story of Maha Kali and Shiva, interspersed with jathis which are typical to Odissi style of renditions.
Smt. Uma Nambudripad Sathya Narayanan disciple of Smt. Chitra Visweswaran and Carnatic vocalist, presented the Bharathanatyam style voyeuristic and graceful as is typical of the Chitra Visweswaran style.
An amazing dancer her varnam, ‘Swami Naadanai Azhaithe Vaa Sakhiye’ in Ragam Khambhoji was the highlight glazed with the nayika’s flirtish glances, expectant moves and pristine footsteps. The varnam was a delight to watch. An ardent fan of this style of dance, the writer considers the varnam was the highlight of the day long dance festival. She concluded her presentation with a Lalgudi Thillana in Hindolam.
Anuj Mishra – Kathak exponent belongs to the gharana of Varanasi. Anuj is thirteenth generation of artists in his traditional musical family. His forefather Late Shri Shiv Kishore Mishra was renowned Sarangi player. His grandfather Late Shri Nanhu Mishra was a famous Tabla mastero and his father Pt. Arjun Mishra is very famous and renowned kathak guru, dancer and choreographer from Lucknow Gharana learned under Late Shri Ramnarayan Mishra in Kolkata and then by great legend Padamvibhushan Pt. Birju Maharaj.
He commenced his performance with Krishna Upadesa showing both ‘Nazhaqhath and Nafhaaqath’ that is typical to the Lucknow gharana. This was followed by an energetic rendition of Shiva Tandav set to a Raag Jog in teen taal however in divisions of three (thishra jati). With a generous display of Upaj – footwork – Uttaan and gathi the shiva tandav leant more towards a rhythmic disposition compared to the previous dancers who leanings towards ‘Bhava’ was greater. That said, what Anuj Mishra did next took the game out of the ball park with his speedy and timely circulations to thaal getting him the well deserved resounding standing ovation.
A well organised event replete with excellent professional dancers Madhuram organisors Divya Sriram and Kalpana Sriram finished by extending a plea that they look forward to the continued support of the community to take their work forward into future years.