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Recital features stories told by a tree and an interactive song game

By Dr. Ajay Garg
June 2015
Recital features stories told by a tree and an interactive song game


Dancers Samta and Nandu. (Photo: Venkat Kuttua)

Nritya Natya Kala Bharti’s (NNKB’s) 2015 annual dance concert was an extraordinary treat for the senses. The exquisite dances, sensual melodies, exotic dresses, and fast pace of the performance brought time to a standstill. Dance Director Kumud Savla, Music Director Sandeep Savla, and their talented daughter Samta brought the evening alive with their delicate moves, music compositions, and choreography.

The grand venue, Robert Ferst Center for the Arts, was an appropriate stage for the world-class talented artists and compositions of the first segment, called “Vriksha Katha.” This Kathak part was performed with live musicians. The second segment brought the treat of Bollywood to the audience in a creative presentation called “Antakshari.”

Vriksha Katha,” or the string of stories told by a tree, brought daily scenes of life that touch us at an emotional level. The tree reminded the audience about the value that plant lives play in the ecosystem of our lives. The story of the tree began with “Surya Namaskar,” a yoga-based dance performance to start off a day in the life of the tree. While “Gurukul” advanced the day with children’s classes being held under the tree, “Khel” was cleverly choreographed to present children playing under it. “Vasant Ritu” and “Garaj Garaj” showed the importance of water, and the effect of rain on the animal kingdom. Dancers dressed in peacock feathers splashed a rainbow of colors on the stage. From the flower in the hair to the ghungroos on the ankles, every piece of their wardrobe was knitted and weaved into each other like a kaleidoscope of colors.

Kumud Savla’s graceful rendition of “Kamayani,” the somber reminder of Buddha’s message, and Pooja Vaidya’s smooth “Virah” were amongst the items that topped off the first segment gracefully. The last performance knit the whole segment back together by reminding us all about the value of trees to our ecosystem. The dance and choreography helped spread the message that we need to work together and save our planet from deforestation.

The second segment was based on “Antakshari,” a favorite game from India. The starting word of a song was tied to the ending word of the previous song, building a linked list of songs. The audience was enraptured with anticipation of the next song and mesmerized with the dances and costumes. The energy and grace of Bollywood dancing was highlighted by the littlest to the advanced students. Robert Chabot infused a wonderful Western dimension with a fusion dance. Another innovation was the introduction of “Guess the song”: the audience got into the groove as the compere of that segment, Ajay Chunchu, made it fun for them with interactive participation.

The evening was spectacular with flawless execution of dance, music, sound, and visuals. With the masterful help of Vasanta Chivukula and Manjula Devi and the overall guidance of Apurva Shrivastava, the NNKB Team has set a high bar for the dancers and we should all look forward to what this group brings us next year! 

[Photos will be added later today.] 

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