Shobana's music and dance extravaganza
Shobana's music and dance extravaganza "TRANCE," led by the legendary actress, has performed across the world

Sobhana’s  ‘Trance’ presented by event organisers Eleven Point Two at Shilpakala Vedika was a mesmerising kaleidoscopic treat to watch. It resembled a dazzling riot of dancing colours unleashed on stage. The excellent lighting bathed the performers in bright and muted tones suitable to the scene making them sparkle in emerald and blue shades alternatively. 

Upholding the idea of the universal brotherhood of all religious faiths in their shared message of compassion, the performance contained themes from the epics of different countries. The artiste with mostly recorded music of exceptional quality also had live keyboard and percussion as accompaniments. A small group of talented students completed the ensemble. 

There was a screen display in the background to enhance visual effects. The event had several self-contained parts each depicting episodes from different religions. The first part on Hinduism featured the dance of Mahakali. A fierce war raged between the demon Raktabhija and Goddess Durga. The fury of Devi created the terrible Kali. Killing Raktabhija did not satiate her anger, which threatened the destruction of the Universe. 

The artiste's gestures full of energy as the battle raged on were vibrant and vigorous; brimming with ferocity. The Garland of red flowers and skulls was macabre along with severed enemy hands forming a girdle which makes for her accessory. Lord Shiva to pacify her adopted the unusual method of lying prostrate in her path. 

Only this helped in calming the Goddess. Shobana went on to present the Dasamahavidyas or Ten aspects of Adishakti. Tara, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati and Kamala etc. The story of the Tripuras and their destruction by Lord Shiva formed the next episode. The Lord with crescent moon adorning his forehead performing Tandava was splendid to watch. The Chakras of the body and awakening of Kundalinini as a Lotus Flower unfolding its thousand petals at Sahasrara and as a coiled serpent awakening, was outstandingly evoked. 

Next was Krishna in his dance with the gopis enchanted to the lilting music of "Lalita Lavanga" an Ashtapadi of Jayadeva. The ‘Rasleela’ captured the audience with its beauty as the Lord danced with the Gopis in turn. The fragrance of flowers was skilfully evoked on stage as the forest scene was projected in backdrop. Nature's beauty and the Gopis desire for Krishna is described in detailed verses in this poem. 

A more folksy tune (a Bollywood film song) enlivened the stage next as the pace picked up and the Gopis and Krishna speeded up their movements in unison. 

The Story of the Buddha unfolded to the hymns of Buddhist chanting as Prince Siddharth is born. After experiencing worldly pleasures, he then realising their transitory nature when he is unexpectedly exposed to human suffering. He leaves his family behind and enters a renunciatory lifestyle where he is tempted by the Demon Mara. The horror of fear and the lure of pleasure are alternatively dangled to disturb him. 

The hideous creeping Mara and a cavorting beast the dragon (representing the Chinese fold lore) try to shake his composure. Triumphing over all these, Buddha attains Enlightenment. The meticulous attention to the production in its details could be appreciated in the characteristic curly locks of hair in Buddha's distinctive coiffure. The Saffron garment costumes were suitably appropriate.

A Kafi in Hindustani music by Abida Parveen blended with "Rangapura Vihara" was next used to depict of Bibi Nachiyar a Muslim Princess who falls in love with an Image of Lord Ranganatha. Shobana as Mary Magdalene shone in her portrayal of the repentant sinner. 

In long Arabic robes with the desert in the background her redemption and acceptance by Christ as his Disciple was played out. The Crucifixion and its aftermath of resurrection were dramatic indeed. The grief of Mary was haunting. Her joy at beholding the risen Christ and endeavour to convince the other doubting disciples was well done. 

The finale of the event was the spectacular "Dancing Drums". The beat of the percussionists formed Adagios, Pavanes and Caracoles of sound which the dancers perfectly mimicked in their footwork without missing a beat. A Vibrant Hanuman Chalisa concluded the program.


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