Steps and Smiles make a Splash


Smile and the world will Smile with you!  But when there are 60 smiles that beam on you through four hours, along with moving hands, footsteps and expressive stories, touching music to add to it, the smiles become a tale in themselves. This is in fact the story of Adharam Madhuram .. as the phrase of the poem of “Madhurashtakam” was brought to life with “Swagatham Krishna”  the theme of the dance choreographed by ICCR panelled, dancer and teacher in Sydney, Manjula Vishwanath, made a splash. Manjula mixed the dance presentation with elements of Bharathanatyam throwing in a the Rass Leela danced to a Garba and or a folk style of dance.

A little Krishna with a mask of blue body paint on her face, hands and legs runs onto the stage to face an amazed audience. Other dancers join in cheerfully, hand in step the story progresses from the Birth of Krishna, told by Narayana, to his escape from prison, to the Evil Puthana trying to poison him, to Yashoda’s  love and then to the fight and killing of the Evil King Kamsa. The Killing of Kamsa was an important landmark in the production showing Little Krishna danced by Vaidehi being able to execute complicated footwork to a powerful Jathi which was fast and furious. Manjula Vishwanath as Kamsa made for a convincing partnership between Guru and Shishya.

Adharam Madhuram !! Smiles that Conquer

Managing all the props which were for once really tastefully done, the dropping of the heavenly cradle,  the make up and the arrangements backstage were managed by the many volunteering parents of the tiny tots, the senior students of Rasika Dance Academy and the dedicated team of the SVT committee members. Raising a handsome amount of funds for the Temple, the Rasika Dance Academy, proved its mettle in producing a show of immense possibilities and amazing talent. The lighting on stage was most effective providing the necessary aplomb and cinematic effect to each scene. However what was most effectively portrayed was the winning of the snake Kalinga in a breathtaking choreography that sees Krishna standing on the snake to the song Kalinga Narthana Thillana.

The children in their various stages of learning the Bharathanatyam, proved that Sydney shall in a few more years see some amazingly promising dancers. The choice of songs was exhaustive from Swagatam Krishna, Kadagola Tarenna ,Ootukadus Kalinga Mardhana Thillana,Raravenu gopala instrumental,asaindadum mayil ondru,madhura nagarilo,brindavani thillana, instrumental raas, geetopadesam yada yadahi dharmasya the slokam, apaprt from jathis and other sanskrit songs.

Students who performed were as follows:

Madhumita as Putana played the evil role very convincingly; Neesha as Duhsyasana was enchanting; Anita as Shakatasura showed immense agility; Shreya as small Krishna was entrancingly and beautiful
Vaidehi as the little grown up krishna was sure and confident yet so little; Sruthi as Yashodha was sweet and graceful. Her years of experience in her favour;
Lalitha as Mushtikasura and Yudhishtra was convincing and graceful; Anjana as the big Krishna was confidence oozing with a delightful integrity and understanding of her role. Her posture was picture perfect, the slight tilt of her chin gave her a God nymph like look was befitting; Abisri as the narrator was tasteful and unfaltering;
and of course Kamsa and Radha by Manjula Viswanath brought the right amount of bhava experience and maturity to this dance drama. The 14 small kids as little gopikas
10 little kids as the gopikas to the little krishna; 10 gopikas for the older krishna and Madhvi as the narada were all enticing to say the least.

Raas Lila

A production of this size only can be possible with an unbeatable amount of energy, enthusiasm and the final applause goes to Guru Manjula Vishwanath for taking on a project of this size and proportion.


10 comments for “Steps and Smiles make a Splash

  1. Renuka Mohan
    14/07/2010 at 9:59 am

    A dramatic, storyline, emotion, wonderful dancers, soul stirring music – ‘Adhuram Madhuram’ was a grand spectacle.
    Adhuram Madhuram,” had all the ingredients of a box office hit — Lord Krishna’s dramatic storyline, emotion-packed, gorgeous costumes, & surreal lighting. There was nothing left to chance in the two-hour extravaganza put together by Teacher, Dancer, Choreographer Manjula Viswanath.

    The ‘grand spectacle’ made grander by the great dedication by all students featured a gripping pace of narration, good co-ordination between the dancers and most significantly, it had the teacher dancing. Manjula set the stage on fire with her prodigious dancing talent alone. Every glance carried a wealth of meaning that evening and the credit multiplies because she was able make a difference with her dedicated students in such a contrived setting.

    And that is precisely why one felt elated with “Adhuram Madhuram.” Artistes like her can make a difference and influence the public perception of art in a positive way .There was Krishna’s maya everywhere as the narrative swung between unusual bends like Demon Putana,the game of dice so wonderfully demonstrated by young dancers, little Krishna being playful and my favourite the Gitoupadesam, it was the characterisation of Krishna in the end that was the most powerful.

    It was also pleasing to see a packed house with the audience coming out in full force supporting both ‘Adhuram Madhuram’ and the SVT Temple. A great effort for a great cause.

  2. 14/07/2010 at 6:48 am

    Poor Lady Meenakshi. Does not know what is Bharatanatyam is. She has not followed the whole story of Krishna killing the Serpant Kalinga and stood on it.Should not have commented without knowing the whole episode.A great task and excellent performance by students of Rasika and excellent choriography by Guru Manjula Viswanath. Keep it up and expects more and more shows.

  3. Raman
    13/07/2010 at 10:16 pm

    Congratulations to Manjula and students of Rasika Academy for their excellent performance on the tales of Krishna on 3 July evening. It’s a memorable event for everyone who saw that classical Bharatanatyam Ballet. We could see lots of efforts and dedication gone into the preparation and performance. Girls of different ages had shown their best talents in the program. All credits go to their Guru Manjula Vishwanath. I wish her and academy a great success.

  4. Saradha
    13/07/2010 at 7:48 pm

    I enjoyed watching an enjoyable and unforgettable performance “Adharam Madhuram”. My daughters enjoyed the ballet to ultimatum as it was colorful and made them feel that they should start learning this nice art form. The little kids were a true delight to watch and special appreciation goes to the senior students who presented the art form with grace and good technicality. All credit goes to Manjula Viswanath who trained these kids and helped us visualise the concept with great Props and choreography. The most enjoyable bit was the Kalinga Nardhana which was great choreography. Waiting for your next show.

  5. Muthulakshmi
    13/07/2010 at 7:22 pm

    Congratulations Rasika Dance Academy! Another wonderful show after the success of Dasavataram. Aadharum Madhuram was a truly brilliant performance by all artists involved. I especially enjoyed the Kalinganarthana where Krishna dances on the snake, and the finale scene was awe-inspiring. The younger students were also very cute and showed great talent for such a young age. Excellent performance by all, and again, congratulations.

  6. V Raja
    13/07/2010 at 7:16 pm

    Having had the pleasure of watching this program on that evening, I can only say it was a wonderful effort on the part of the teacher & her students. Presenting ballet through Bharatnatyam is indeed pleasing, particularly when the nuances of this ancient dance form is not missed-out even one bit, as was seen on this day. Be it the traditional Pushpanjali where the ardha mandi was fully in evidence, Krishna’s times with Yashoda where it was a joy to watch both the kid & mother dance the steps in unision or the kalinganardhanam where krishna tames the 5 snakes and dances over them, it was a performance par excellence. We hope to view many such quality shows in future.

  7. Ramani
    13/07/2010 at 7:11 pm

    What a lovely show Rasika Dance Academy. I have not seen such a superb performance literally saw Lord Krishna before my eyes. God triumphs over evil the moral played so well let me take a bow!! We in Sydney are blessed to have such performers. The highlights of the show for me were the Little Krishna, Kalinganarthana Scene killing of the snake, the finale the gitoupadesam . God Bless you all! FANTASTIC!

  8. 12/07/2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Meenakshi

    Thank you for your comments. I shall however reserve my opinion and ask the girls who wore the paint. They all seemed to rejoice in the ‘Vesham’.. although this sort of paint work is not particular to Bharathanatyam. We see paint forms an important aspect in other Indian Dance forms such as Kathakali.. it is visually more attractive, and frankly, I dont see the harm in it. The show was essentially produced by the children for the children and that is the spirit in which we need to look at this show.

    Humbly yours,

  9. Meenakshi Sundaram
    12/07/2010 at 5:38 pm

    What a pity (insult) that Lord Krishna had to dance over five pairs of feet!

    The blue paint on Krishna was garish.

    Bharathnatyam can be performed through pure abhinaya in all its devotional aspects without resorting to such gimmicks.

    As the motive behind the show was to collect donations to the Temple it was laudable.

  10. 11/07/2010 at 7:05 pm

    What an energetic performance..thanks Manjula & all the girls & their parents/volunteers for putting on this amazing show..while rising a big sum for donation to the temple!

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