For sometime I have found this general trend created in Sydney by benevolent societies irksome.
Events held to raise funds for ‘good causes’. The primary drive with these ventures has been the push to get as many people into the hall as possible and therefore to push the sale of the $25 tickets.
How does this approach when it is mingled with ‘classical arts’ affect the development of any art form in society ? There are growing number of children who are in their primal mid tier performance years ? Will there ever be any opportunities available to them to come out into the limelight and hold their own, chisel their abilities, harness their talent further after their arangetram and truly develop these practices ?
Parents who have invested time, effort, money and teachers who have spent even more painful hours on their feet teaching the difficult art forms of be it bharathanatyam, kathak and or kuchipudi – will they ever be rewarded with, to use an investment terminology – a return ? Who really cares ?
This is what teachers parents and organisers need to realize ‘solo performances’ can also be brilliant, entrancing and entertaining and they are worth exploring during fund raising events.
Two recent events held in Sydney worked against this norm and established precisely this fact. Both were less enthusiastically attended than the usual ‘do good’ events. Nevertheless both showcased and established the rich talent that Sydney now can pride itself of possessing. Both more importantly were performances with live orchestra.
The first was the production of Samarpana School of Dance – Amma at the arts den of the West – Casula Powerhouse. Amma showcased Shobana Suresh’s solo repertoire where she explored the myriad love centric moments of motherhood. The live orchestra consisted of :
Nattuvangam – Chidambaram R. Suresh
Mirudangam – Pallavarajan Nagendran
Vocal – Arjunan Puveendran
Violin – Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda
Synthesiser – Mohan Ayyar
The energetic Kauthuvam in Karna Ranjani compossed by Madurai R Muralidharan preceded by the tamil poem written by Dr. Malini Anandakrishnan set the mood for the show. The classical varnam composed by Dandayuthapani Pillai “Annaiyai Maravenadi” in Ragam – Abohi, Thalam – Adi. explored both a child’s journey and a mother’s journey with a new born. After all motherhood comes with no rule book. The varnam was interspersed with complicated jathis which were rendered with accurate footwork and energy showing real stamina.
The famous “Chinnanchiru Killiye kannamma” tamil composition of Subramania Bharathiar and “Maadu meikum kanna” in Ragam Senchurutti of composer Oothukadu Venkatasubbaiyer showed a mother’s playful journey with her child and the games they play with each other. Undoubtedly bringing a smile to all those who watched.
Shobana finished with another famous padam “Eththanai sonnaalum” in Ragam Saveri by composer Sunbarama Iyer where the mother tries to cajole, scold and convince her grown up daughter to make up in her relationship with her beloved was expressive and entertaining. The program concluded with the Thillana on mother set to Ragam Revathi in Misra Jampai thalam and was composed by Chidambaram R. Suresh
Concept and Dance choreography for all items were that of the husband wife pair, Chidambaram R. Suresh and Shobana Suresh, except for Eththanai Sonnalum which was choreographed by CV Chandrasekhar.
All in all an enjoyable evening spent under the high ceiling of the powerhouse which is now becoming a true representative of showing the myriad cultures of the West of Sydney.