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Kruti Dance Academy Explores Shringara Rasa at its Annual Recital

July 2007
Kruti Dance Academy Explores Shringara Rasa at its Annual Recital

It began three years ago with her 10th annual recital at the Fox Theater. A flight to fantasy, was followed by Kalakar-the true artist last year. On 27th May 2007, at the Atlanta Symphony Hall of the Woodruff Arts Center, Dina Sheth's Kruti Dance Academy concluded the trilogy with the exploration of Shringara rasa through the magic of Geet Govind, a famous epic poem about the love between Radha and Krishna, written by Jayadev in the 12th century. The classical dance segment was choreographed to capture the nuances of the epic.

The beginning, with little kids chanting beautiful mantras set the stage for a presentation by students who had spent many months perfecting their foot work. Two big screens aided the presentation on stage, where the audience could get a close-up of the colorful costumes, footwork and bhava mudras of the dancers.

Dina Sheth, the veteran Director of the well known academy, consulted with scholar Kamlesh Dwivedi to understand the epic in greater depth, which in turn helped her translate it to her students with ease and also create the choreography around it. "Geet Govind had been my favorite when I was learning dance and I wanted to also bring Pandit Jasraj's rendition to the forefront," said Sheth. According to Dwivedi, "Geet Govind is the best known composition of Jayadev and perhaps the finest example of shringar, the literary description of the decoration of the body, mind and the soul—tan, man and atma in Sanskrit."

This was aptly portrayed in 12 segments of beautiful dances, color and bhava by students from the youngest to the most senior. Rachana, Pushpanjali, Sur, Gagan Gheere, Lalit Lavanga, Mand Samiran, Ja Ja Madhava, Natwar Nagar, Mat Kar Kanha, Ras Rasik, and Radha Mohan captured the nuances of shringara bringing 12th century India, Jayadev's Jaggannath Puri, and the evolving love between Radha and Krishna to the audience in all its glory.

The second segment showcased Shringara in its carefree, joyful state through Bollywood songs. Boys and girls from different age groups performed hits like the Himesh Reshammiya medley, ‘Barso re' from Guru, and other hits from Dhoom, Soneya, Rock n Roll, Where's the Party Tonight, Asmani Chatri, Cheena re Cheena, and the grand finale, a five-part dazzler, was performed by The Kruti Alumni, volunteers, staff and the current arangetram class and Sheth herself.

Just as it was last year, all the dancers were immaculately dressed. The eye for detail, be it the outfits, or the jewelry or the meticulous way the stage was set was evident. It also spilled into the performance, the dance steps and even the way each segment ended. The music varied from classical to fusion to plain Bollywood as kids of all age groups put up a finely tuned segment each time, with beauty and grace.

Shemoni Sheth, daughter of the elder Sheth and a star student of the academy emceed the event. Many students shared what shringara meant to them, both on stage and in writing. Some said it implied dance because it embodies a mind, body, soul connection, another said that keeping the body healthy, cultivating good qualities like compassion, perseverance, and commitment would make the person a pure vehicle to offer shringar to Lord Krishna. The masters of shringara realized the presence of beauty whereever you chose to find it and to find that godliness within you can make shringara truly divine.

The highlight of the evening was the presence of flute maestro Deepak Ram, who enhanced the mood of Geet Govind by playing a short segment on the flute, which had always enchanted Radha and became the highlight of the evening. Ram a senior disciple of Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, was deeply appreciative of the effort put in by Sheth and her students. He said, "While watching the annual recital of Kruti Dance Company, I was reminded of something I read many years ago. The great Lebanese Poet Kahlil Gibran said about dance, ‘The philosophers' soul dwells in the head, the artists' soul in the eyes, but the dancers' soul pervades the whole body.' The splendid choreography and the discipline with which it was executed was simply delightful, every nuance of gesture, expression was a joy to watch."

- Kavita Chhibber

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