The dancers of Rasika Dance Academy like blossoming buds slowly and surely unravelled the beauty of Bharathanatyam in Sadhana – 9 Modes of Devotion held on the 19th March 2016 at Redgum Centre in Wentworthville.
Manjula Viswanathan’s productions have always been a sure win and this was no less. Manjula’s uncrowded choreography and ability to bring out the best and showcase each student’s abilities is the strength of her productions.
The evening commenced with an Anjali in Raag Jog and Revathi where all participating performers performed together. After which every item was presented by each dancer of the Academy as a solo piece in which the each dancer was able to stand alone as an evolving nayika building along the theme of the evening – the nine modes of devotion.
Starting with Purandara Dasa’s Ghajavadana Beduve in praise of Lord Ganesha , Anitha Vytheeswaran, danced a convincing Ganesha who was beheaded by Lord Shiva to the wrath of Parvathi. Anitha’s presentation was energetic with accurate footwork and expression.
As the voice of Nirupama Raman took over from where Shruthi Balaji had previously left, the composition of Kaana Kann Aayiram, unravelled in Ragam Aabheri to the lilting violin accompaniment of Balaji Jagannadhan.
Madhumita Jayaraman, appeared as Muruga on his beautiful peacock, as she stepped to Om Sharavana Bhava to the beats of the mridangam by Pallavarajan Nagendran, the choreography and Madhumita’s expression kept the audience successfully engaged with her faultless expression and accurate timely poses.
As Hanuman who leaps to eat the red ball in the sky thinking it is a fruit, Dinisha Devadasan was convincing as both Rama and Hanuman bringing to life the composition of Annamacharya ‘Mangambudhi Hanumantha’.
Latisha Manilal in Smaranam danced in praise of Lord Narayana to the composition of Purandara Dasa in Ragam Shuddha Dhanyasi and thalam kanda chapu. She depicted the stories of Prahalada and Narasimha, Krishna and Draupadi Apaharanam beautifully bringing to life the story through still balanced poses and once again accurate precise footwork.
Lalitha Bala another senior dancer of the Academy has grown into a confident dancer. Her expressive sculpturistic and challenging poses of Nataraja in Ananda Natamaduvaa Thillai, composition of Neelakanta Sivan was a real treat.
If Lalitha Bala’s performance was energetic after the intermission, Abisri Negi gave a restrained performance in depicting Meera to the compostion of Paga Ghunguru Bandha Meera Nachi Re. This dancer too is showing plenty of promise and has an instinctive understated presence on stage which was still appealing.
This was followed by Anjana Chandran’s convincing dance about Lord Krishna in Rajagopalachari’s composition of Krishna Chindu portraying Vrindavan where peacock’s dance, Anjana made it look effortless and beautiful. All dancers came together in Sakhyam when they performed to Payum Oli a composition of Subramanya Bharatiar in Ragamalika.
The finale and what the audience went off with was the soulful presentation of Motherly Love in Jagadhodharana composition of Purandara Dasa by the choreographer and guru Manjula Viswanath. It was a rare treat to watch Manjula bring to life the poet’s imaginative story telling.
With little pomp show, Rasika Dance are leaders in setting a precedent that solo acts make an evening production as successful as any other with the added advantage of truly being able to give developing dancers a most wonderful opportunity to explore and learn and commence their voyage of discovery through dance