Young talents keep springing surprises at Abhivyakti. With her relatively fluent Kathak dance skills Jigna Dixit, a senior student of Maulik Shah and Ishira Parikh of Anart Foundation gave last Thursday quite a feel of the time of the ancient city state of Vaishali, the character of Rajanartaki Amrapali who, stories go, created a stir in the city and among neighbouring kingdoms as much with her ravishing beauty and dance as a nartika as her decision in the prime of her youth to embrace Buddhism for the safety and unity of the state of Vaishali. The administrative body had given her the option of becoming a Ganika.
Amrapali was well-versed in dance and music. Jigna’s choice of portraying Amrapali in her youth suited her Kathak training. There are interesting details of her early life and dramatic ones associated with even during the time of her life depicted. Jigna focuses on a linear unfolding of a narrative through the medium of dance. The twists and turns in the life of the central character, a court dancer, get presented all through with solo dance sequences based on classical music, both of a pretty good quality.
Jigna, a dedicated dancer, is in a happy position to have her spouse Jignesh Sheth compose original music for the production. The versatile young musician in fact has played the tabla, the pakhawaj, the guitars and the keyboard in varying ragas employed. To add to the ambience he has professional instrumentalists on the sarangi, the sitar and the flute. For expressive vocal renditions he has Prahar Vora and Gargi Vora’s voice.
With the flow of music Jigna develops an easy flow of dance as she gets into the changing moods of dignity and comfort to love and longing to dejection and renunciation – all prompted by appropriate music. She finds scope to demonstrate brisk footwork, expressive hand gestures, intricate mudras, elegant jumps, delectable glides and chakkars besides a bit dramatically expressive movement sitting. Care is taken by Mitali with her symbolic set designs to keep the stage uncluttered for her action and yet giving hints of the royal ambience on the one hand and of serene austerity on the other.
With the space made available, the moods spelt out by music and where necessary the script (Bhargav Vyas) giving hints of change in the narrative, the dancer is at ease in each segment – be it of garima – a mix of pride and dignity – in the initial one in Darbaari, of love in Jit chale ut prema-raaga …, of longing in Sooramayi saanj bhayi, mujame-n aa ke samaa jaa …, of dejection and betrayal in dehadrohi piya mora … and the final crucial one of renunciation in Bhairavi. Subtle hints of change in the colour she wears in Anuvi’s costume designs do not go unnoticed. The lights were by Path Raval.
The epithet deshadrohi presumably for Bimbisar, a genuine lover, sounds difficult to accept from what is commonly known of the story of the dancer. And, doesn’t the Sootradhar (Vishal) coming on stage from time to time with obviously his voiceover cause rasabhangha?
Image courtesy : Abhivyakti
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