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Eventful beginning to September

The month of September had a good start with plenty of cultural events in Hyderabad making it almost an overload even for an enthusiast.It was wonderful to take in a variety, ranging from the classical to contemporary dance, topped of with Qawwali at a Heritage Monument, all in a span of just a few days. Here are some vignettes:

Path to moksha, Panduranga Abhangs in Marathi, sourced from Tukaram Ganapathy Maharaj, were presented as a Bharatanatyam recital by Vyshnavie Sainath and other students of Rajeswari Sainath on the first of September at Ravindra Bharathi.Music was by Rajkumar Bharathi and Vocal was by the well known Kumar Mardur. Violet, indigo and red were the predominant colours of the artistes on the stage. In elegantly conceived and choreographed duets and group items, the essence of Bhakti and the charming Krishna stealing the hearts of His Devotees were well received by the audience despite the majority being unfamiliar with the language.Vyshnavie donning the role of Krishna in the latter part of the program excelled.Rajeswaris senior student Nainita matched Vyshnavie well in the duet.Finale was a piece done by all the participating students. Nivedita and Nandini among them made their presence felt.Nattuvangam by Rajeswari Sainath was quite brisk and lively to watch.

Vyshnavie Sainath along with other students

Lamakaan was the venue on the third of this month for Rasa, a contemporary dance performance by Aangik, prefaced by a brief talk. This contemporary Ddnce company is directed by Ms.Arunima Gupta a student of "NAVANRITYA" from Dr.Manjusri Chaki Sircar and her daughter Ranjabati.Stills of Aangik dancers and pictures of Dr.Ananda Shankar Jayant were first screened. Ananda Shankar in her inimitable manner gave an engrossing speech touching on the revival of Bharatanatyam by luminaries like her guru Rukmini Devi Arundale and E.Krishna Aiyer after the passing of the Devadasi Act almost put an end to this art which was derogatively referred to by the British as "Nautch". She deftly weaved in the story of the origins of contemporary dance as a reaction to the highly formalized style of Western Ballet and highlighted its outstanding practitioners Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan abroad and Uday Shankar in India.

Arunima's ensemble

Rasa done by Arunima and her students was full of torsion and tension to be self-interpreted by the audience.Staccato movements alternated with graceful ones.Arunima being versed in classical dance forms seamlessly inserted a few poses derived from various styles.Coloured spotlights were used to give the desired effect of accentuating the shifting moods of the theme.Music blended well with the performance.At the close Arunima gave her own sense of the theme Yin and Yang,White and Black as Love and Lust;a juxtaposition of feminine against masculine - contrasting rather than complementing.

Chanda ka Bagh

Chanda ka Bagh, as the locals call it, is the Tomb Garden at Moula Ali of the famous eighteenth century courtesan Mah Laqa Bai Chanda.She was a Court dancer and poet during the period of the second and third Nizams possessing influence in the political and religious circles of Her era as well.Existing portraits are testimony to her great beauty which fascinated many. An extensive Garden with stepwell is the setting for a series of Mughal style pavilions with delicate stucco work.Recently HCIC has executed the intricate task of tomb and garden restoration under the aegis of the Centre for Deccan Studies and MESCO with funding from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and Coca Cola.This heritage structure was an apt setting for a Qawwali by a Group associated with the famous "Warsis" on September fourth as an informal leave taking by the CDS team on completion of the work.The melliflous voices of the singers melding with the surroundings inspired nostalgia and one almost expected the Lady poet herself to appear to give applause.