Manjula Vishwanath the artistic director and guru of Rasika Dance Academy and its community of parents and students once again proved that coming together of grand ideas, hard work and meaningful purpose, today kindles the practices of difficult artforms such as Bharathanatyam in Australia.
In the fast flowing din of the world such artforms need a reason to exist, to be nurtured and fostered not damned and criticised and Sree Venkateswara Temple gives such organisations these opportunities.
Raising a substantial amount for the Sree Venkateswara Temple, Rasika Dance Academy brought the Science Theatre alive to the emotive stories and the theatre of dance. The children aptly accompanied by the visual artistic dimensions of the shadow puppets brought each rasa in each emotion spilling over the stage into the hearts of the audience, the night progressed through sometimes, quite offbeat yet interesting stories.
Whilst all the senior dancers of the school, Anjana, Sruthi, Shalaka and Madhumitha carried the performances through lending a mature take to the emotive portrayals. The senior students displayed all aspects of Indian classical dance beautifully, from folk to Bharathanatyam to Mohiniattam to Kathak across the evening.
The little one’s brought a smile and laughter as they danced with their hearts on their sleeves and were most endearing monkeys, clouds, grand columns in palatial confines, or beautiful animals and grape vines in a celestial garden.
Shringara brought the story of Shakunthala; Hasyam depicted by the story of Tenali Raman the pot headed court jester; Raudram with effective lighting was beautifully enacted by Madhumita whose portrayal was hair raising as Kannagi whose anger burns the city of Madurai; Bheebatsyam depicted the disgust of King Ashoka with himself during the Mauryan war; Karunyam brought the story of Siddhartha; Bhayam the story of the fear of Saraswathi Bai, Purandara Dasa’s wife and the nose ring she parts with, as she is abused by her husband; Veeram of the bravery of Shivaji.
The final word in this review goes to all the students who portrayed Adbhudham, the story of Hanuman and his many monkeys which remained with the audience as they left the hall that evening.
The wonderful costumes for each act were innovative and executed without delays, eye catching without being tacky were the props which brought the required drama and appeal to the show.
Music by Balasubramanya Sharma from India, whom Manjula always uses, added all important effects as it swept through many different sacred texts in different languages.