Sutra – excelled in its presentation and finish. It revealed the secrets of classical Indian dance in a mixed media form, transitioning between big screen depictions of temples and interviews with dancers of today to the dancers and live musicians on stage with immaculate precision and professionalism.
Held in the confines of the Lennox Theatre at the Parramatta Riverside Theatre on the 4 May 2013, dancers Sandhya and Govind Pillai along with Little Srinidhi Nair presented three styles of South Indian Dance – Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam.
Through out the show the dances were interspersed with film depiction with a meaningful commentary that weaved and joined the two mediums, film and live music and dance together. The film depicted the origins of Bharathanatyam, insight into the life of Rukmini Devi Arundel, the meaning of the essential components of dance, mudras and abhinaya and layam, hand and foot gestures before moving on to the modern and present development of dance as it is seen today.
The dancers continued through various pieces emphasizing the mudras and their meaning with foot tapping mathematical rhythms from the Kauthuvam to the Mysore Jathi performed by little Srinidhi Nair who delightfully presented Adinaye Kanna showing the use of hand gestures.
Sandhya in the Kuchipudi style gracefully performed and depicted the eight forms of feminine energy in Akhilandeshwari, whilst the sculpturistic poses were immaculate and lighting effects added drama.
The voices of Sangeetha Ayyar and Krishna Ramarathinam lent the necessary musical effect to the expressive choreography.
The Varnam, saw Govind Pillai as Hanuman showing all the different stages of the Monkey God from his birth to adulthood, the varnam was performed to Ragam Keeravani.
The violinist Anita Das, student of Shri Murali Kumar, Mridangist Venkat Ramakrishnan, student of Sridhar Chari both from Melbourne excelled in showing their prowess through the complicated jathis in the Varnam to perfection. A true partnership.
As the story of the temple dance progressed on screen to the modern era and its development as practiced and seen in the world today we saw the piece of Krishna and Draupadi presented by the brother sister duo; followed by the interesting blend of cultures explored in Govind Pillai creative choreography in a Rhythm Dance production dealing with what happens when we take classical Indian dance into new context ?
The performance culminated with the Thillana and a mangalam showing the enchanting Mohini with her graceful and deliberate body movements in mohiniattam by Sandhya Pillai. More adventurous efforts can be expected from Govind Pillai whose interest in classical dance sees him as the right candidate for such experiments. The partnership with his sister Sandhya Pillai added variety to the evening. This duo has much to offer and their future productions should inculcate further contemporary themes to attract a wider audience.