Kaalachakra, the Wheel of relationships through time, conceived and choreographed by Hamsa Venkat presented the students of Samskriti School of Dance on 29 September 2013, at the Marana Auditorium on the annual fundraising event of Resourceful Australian Indian Network Inc [RAIN]
The thematic production deliberated on the concept of relationships and its passage from the moment of human conception to adulthood.
Hamsa Venkat’s critical selection of texts for these thematic presentations provided variety and were suitably choreographed, albeit through rather long narrations between acts.
The selection of Abhimanyu Kauthuvum verses, set to music by Mohan Ayyar, from the Mahabharatha, saw the first act depicting the relationship between a child still in the womb and its parents. As the son of Arjuna, listens to the war strategies through his mother’s ears and his father’s recital, the mother falls asleep. The child in the womb fails to listen to an important retrieval warpath which later results in his ultimate premature death during the Mahabharatha.
The sibling stories of Krishna and his brother Balarama; Krishna and his sister Draupadi; that of teacher and student with stories of Adi Sankara and Kabir were all depicted by the students of Samskriti expressively.
The relationship of mankind with its environment in a varnam in the composition of Madurai Muralidharan, saw an eye catching formation of the Sun, told the story of the sun god. The varnam depicted four stories. Govind Pillai, one of the senior students of the school stood out in the Varnam, as the Sun God, as Hanuman along with other dancers.
Interspersed with fast and furious rhythmic vocal percussion by Hamsa Venkat, the challenge in the varnam for all dancers was to maintain stamina strength and accuracy which was demonstrated with dedication and precise footwork. The senior students excelled in facial expressions setting a good example for the less experienced. The circular formation depicting the constellations and the Sun was effectively highlighted with the use of lighting, sculpturistic poses and props.
In the coming alive of the tamil padam, ‘Pandadithanale Unnai Thoodhanupinen’ on friendships, Dr Divya Sriram’s sensitive handling on a rather seductive subject was captivating. Followed by the relationship between man and woman, Hamsa Venkat chose the story of Nala and Dhamayanthy, set to music by Sangeetha Ayyar, the dancers Shivaranjani and Smitha Ramamurthy were expressive and played their respective roles well.
All the little ones who danced along with the more experienced dancers are showing promise and if carefully nurtured shall become ardent followers of this art in years to come.
The sound system whilst lacking balance was forgotten quickly when the voice of Krishna Ramarathinam in perfect pitch became a god sent sanctuary to rest our ears upon. All accompanying musicians, Sangeetha Ayyar, Mohan Ayyar, Pallavarjan Nagendran and Suresh were supportive and wonderful. Balaji Jagannadhan on violin was perhaps a little underutilized.
The overcrowded halls of the Marana auditorium whilst chlostrophobic for many, must have left the organisers in complete delight. With such a wonderful response, my only hope is that next year the organisors will invest in booking a hall which is suitably equipped with a good sound system, a larger auditorium and a good production technical team to support the event which otherwise had almost all the markings of a spectacular production.
The befitting end to this grand annual day celebration can only be summarised as: (adopted from the Annual Brochure of RAIN) :
Charity is like an unsung anthem,
Harmonising everything we see,
A gift can be a work of silent witness,
Remembrance, reverence, unsought forgiveness
Intention labour time philanthropy
The worth is measured only by redemption
Yielding nothing but the grace to be!