Heavy rhythmic thuds made with strong footwork to robust male singing and music emanated from Kadamb’s practice hall instead of the familiar buzz-like soft tinkle of ghungrus last Wednesday evening. Pankaj Sihag, Rohit Parihar and Mohit Shridhar danced three vigorous solos in full abandon following a duet by the last two. With confidence, Mihika attempted compering while Sanjukta Sinha, Rupanshi Kashyap and other dancing girls, looking even prettier in their colourful dresses spelling the mood of the season, did the running about with a welcoming smile.
“Male power for a change,” Sanjukta, hardly ever otherwise seen with her feet staying still, whispers. The Mehfil-like ambience in the hall with gaddi seats for just twenty-five invitees, most of them students, for the in-house performance, was refreshing. Contemporary dancer Pankaj has been taking in Kathak influence at Kadamb for the last three years with Sanjukta as his mentor, and the other two are disciples of Vadodara-based Kathak maestro Rajendra Gangani. They were all members of the troupe from Kadamb that recently visited Italy and Spain.
Rohit and Mohit set the tone for the evening short performance paying homage to Lord Shiva with a few of the stanzas in Sanskrit from Tulsidas’s Rudrashtakam choreographed by their Guru in the stately resplendence of Bageshri. They invoked that unique form of the Shiva whose abode is chidakasham, is karaalam mahakaalam and yet krupaalam. This was followed by a solo performance by Rohit, who has currently also been teaching at the local J G College of Performing Arts. His performance was in the popular fourteen-beat Dhamaar.
Mohit, who has his graduation from Delhi’s Kathak Kendra and performed internationally, came with Sa-Re-Ga-Ma, which is also composed by his Guru, in Tritaal and the same raag Bageshri. He brought a little variety to his vigorous steps and even a bit of lyricism to movement even as he enhanced their robustness with pace and the number of bewildering chakkars characteristic of the dance form. The dancing skill of both the zestfully lively performers had the stamp of the quality of their Guru Rajendra Gangani.
The conclusion and culmination of the evening’s dance event was in Pankaj’s engaging Ecstasy. Its hauntingly evocative music with the voice rising from within sought to go up to the all-pervading spirit in the open up to the sky as also to connect with the core within. The dancer’s convulsive movement, expressive of the contemporary chaotic time, seemed to rest at the epicentre of energy within that the classical dance form at times gives a feel of.
The young dancers are highly skilled. In their evolving years ahead they have the capability to contribute to structured dance creations, solo or group, integrally. They had a taste of it in Kadamb’s Stills and Movement, chiefly in Kumudini Lakhia’s choreography, in which they have performed locally, nationally and abroad. In response to a creation of the kind, she can be expected to say, the void within for the viewer fades away and the empty space is filled with the pleasure an aesthetic experience affords.
Image courtesy: Noopur Oza & Organisers
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