“I am the splendor of the splendid, I am victory (of the victorious), I am resolution (of the resolute), I am the goodness of the good…” – Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita
Scripted and directed by senior Bharatanatyam artiste Hamsa Venkat, the presentation was themed on the universal presence of the Divine Power in every aspect of life. The theme was explored by weaving together various compositions, each highlighting one aspect.
God in the joy of living. This was presented in a jatiswaram, a dance composition showcasing the beauty of melody, rhythm and movement followed by ‘Vellaithamarai…’, invoking the blessings of Goddess Saraswathi, residing on the white lotus, found in the divine music of the veena and all artforms, and as the Goddess who is the very essence of knowledge, beauty and joy.
The popular composition of Bharatiyar, ‘Odivilayadu papa’ was taken to show the presence of God in children…in their carefree nature, forgiving minds, in all their energetic actions of playing, dancing, singing and studying and in the sheer happiness that they exude…this song was aptly presented by the bubbly, little, junior students of Samskriti.
All artforms, particularly dance and music are believed to be a pathway leading us closer to divinity…
The composition ‘Ulagampugazhumnattiyakalaiyai…’ extolling the art of dance, showed the spiritual nature of the artform, as one that gives a glimpse of God through the praise and narration of His greatness.
The concept of experiencing God in our parents, teachers and in everything around us was presented in a varnam format, featuring the well-known verse from Taitriya Upanishad, “MathruDevoBhava, PithruDevoBhava, AacharyaDevoBhava, AthithiDevoBhava”. The stories of lord Ganesha winning the mango fruit, and Ekalavya’s Guru Bhakthiwere depicted here. The captivating music for the varnam was composed by Mohan Ayyar.
Divinity in the power of nature, was brought out in an interesting comparison between Bharathiyar’s ‘KaakaiChiraginile’ and Meerabai’s ‘BarseBadariya…’, where both poets visualise Krishna in the beauty of nature…in the feathers of a crow, in the swaying trees, in chirping birds and in the flames of fire to the dark clouds, thunder, lightning and rain…The use of differently coloured veils added an aesthetic touch to this section.
God as the highest emotion of love, was depicted through a beautiful episode relating to Radha and Krishna. Here, Radha adorns and transforms herself, pretending to be Krishna…and the deceived gopis finally discover the real Krishna by seeing a reflection of the lord and the love for Him in the eyes of Radha…and a reflection of Radha and the love for her in the eyes of Krishna.
An unusual choice, this composition was well presentedby the talented senior students of Samskriti. The music composition that enhanced the rasa for this piece was by SangeethaAyyar and BalajiJagannathan.
An episode from Ramayana was presented to illustrate the Godliness even in evil. Rama sees the Godliness in Ravana, and invites him as the greatest Shiva Bhaktha to perform thepoojabefore the war on Lanka. Ravana, recognising the Supreme Truth, asks for moksha (liberation) as dakshina for conducting the pooja…and not for Sita as expected by all around.
Experiencing God in the joy of celebration with family and friendswas showcased through a variety of folk dances appropriate to the various Hindu festivals like Pongal, Holi, Vishu, GaneshaChaturthi, Navrathri and Diwali.
The concluding piece, highlighted the realisation of divinity within each one of us, as the light of wisdom and goodness in our hearts…
‘Sarvesha’ offered an evening of experiencing divinity through the choreographic mettle of senior dancer and teacher HamsaVenkat,along with the music accompaniment of vocalists SangeethaAyyar and Anand Dixit, musicians BalajiJagannathan (Violin), Mohan Ayyar (synthesiser) and Bala Shankar (mridangam).
Outstanding for his striking performance in the entire group, for execution of neat adavus and skilful abhinaya was GovindPillai. With dedicated practice and continuoushardwork, this youngster is bound to inspire the other students towards excelling in their adavus and maintaining anga-shuddha (neat positions of hands and feet, gestures, body posture and araimandi).
Speaking to Sydhwaney, says Hamsa, “When the organisers GOD (Global Organisation for Divinity) asked me to do a production for them, I started to think about a concept. Immediately the thought came to me, why not explore the concept of God, which is the acronym the organisation operates on. Then of course I started to piece together the various places and people God could be found in. The pieces were selected after a lot of research to flesh out the concept and to include variety in terms of languages, musical composition, and ability to be handled by varying age groups and at the same time follow the recital pattern of a margam.”
“The creativity of any dancer needs expression and this can happen only if he or she is supported by a team of talented musicians who are brave enough to explore the choreography with the dancer. In this respect I am very fortunate in having SangeethaAyyar, Mohan Ayyar ,BalajiJagannadhan, Anand Dixit and BalaSankar who understand my ideas and give it concrete shape.”
“For me a dance production is not something that is merely staged, it is like a baby which has to be created, given attention, given time, nurtured, absorbing the knowledge from and the influence of all those who belong to the family called Samskriti and finally springing to life on stage.”
Says PriyaSashi, a student of Samskriti, who participated in ‘Sarvesha’, “It has been just over a year of learning Bharatanatyam with SmtHamsaVenkat. The experience with Hamsa Aunty is something that cannot be told but to be experienced by one. She may not have to look at you or say anything but you will walk out of the class knowing that you have learnt something valuable. Hamsaaunty’s choreography is simply outstanding.When I came to know that we are performing for a charity cause like this I felt that my skills, time and energy should be dedicated for the benefit of the society.”
The overall presentation of ‘Sarvesha’ reflected the passion and contribution of all the participating artistes and students to the best of their abilities. And there was a strong message:
‘If we can see Divinity as a way of life, we can only see peace, happiness, understanding and wisdom around us’…and just how lovely that would be!