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Respected Annual Recital: A Tribute to Water

June 2005
Respected Annual Recital: A Tribute to Water

Inspired by the recent tragic tsunami, this year Nritya Natya Kala Bharati's annual recital not only depicted water in its varied manifestations, but also pledged funds from the program towards the rehabilitation efforts.

The word amongst classical dance connoisseurs in town is that the annual recital of the dance academy Nritya Natya Kala Bharati is a must see event. The "Tree of Life" finale from last year's recital is one that is still remembered and talked about.

This year was no different. Save for some technical glitches like inverted slides and lack of synchronization between audio recordings and live performance of orators, a splendid show was staged. The ticket sales and donations were pledged towards the tsunami relief effort.

The much anticipated event, with over 150 performers, took place on May 7th at the Georgia World Congress Center. Accompanied by Pandit Joshi of the Shiv temple, Master of Ceremonies, Amitabh Sharma, kicked off the program with a traditional diya ceremony. The talented couple, Kumud and Sandeep Savla, who are also the Directors of this dance and music academy, soon took the reins.

Sandeep and Vijal Shah were the vocal artists accompanied by a talented team: the famous Ed Pias on pakhawaj, the magnificent Kakuli Bakshi on sitar, the energetic Amjad Kawa on tabla, Sohail Ali on keyboard, and senior teacher Yashvant Panchal on percussion.

The star attraction of the first half was the ashtaaika ? depiction of the eight different moods of love of a woman. What made this item so enjoyable was the fact that each mood was explained with the help of visuals and audio before the group of dancers came on stage. The projected images showed Kumud Savla in the various poses depicting each mood. What made the item even more enthralling was the fact that with each progressive mood depicted, the expertise of the corresponding dance group gradually progressed ? till it reached its crescendo with the eighth mood the abhisarika which was performed solo by the teacher herself.

The classical segment was followed by the contemporary dance items. This section totally belonged to the youngest students in the school. Items like "Mera Babu Chail Chabeela" performed by 4-year old girls and "Time to Disco" by similarly aged boys each received thunderous applause and ovation. It was amazing to see the confidence and enthusiasm of these young performers.

The vocal and tabla recitals took place after the intermission and were followed once again by contemporary dance items based on folk and movie songs.

The much awaited grand finale, Paani (Water), was everything one would expect from a program of this caliber. It was based on the recent tsunami that struck many of the Asia-Pacific countries including India. The performance depicted how water manifests itself in many ways on this planet. Water can be tranquil like a still lake or wild and pounding like a hurricane. Kumud, who was deeply affected by the tragedy, was explosive in her expression of her anguish and distress through an art form of which she is a master. She portrayed the destruction through various songs with lyrics that pierced the heart: "Yeh kaisee gham kee shaam hai. Is ka kis peh ilzaam hai? Kiyun tere hote huweh hai yeh? Basi basti ujar jaye, kya apna yeh anjaam hai?" More than a few in the audience were seen wiping off tears as the performance hit home like no eye-witness news report could. By many accounts, the evening was awe-inspiring.

- By Parijat Chandra

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