Tales of the divine couple
Bharatanatyam dancer, Guru Ananda Shankar and her students from Shankarananda Kalakshetra have presented many awe-inspiring dance ballets in the past, one of which is 'Tales from the Bull and the Tiger'. It is a stunning culmination of dance and music, accentuated by the modern-day techniques of using graphics and lights, and an amazing team of dancers, co-ordinated so well that there was not one step out of the way and costumes by fashion designer, and a classical dancer Ganesh Nallari complimenting the presentation in a significant way.
These tales told to the children of the divine couple, Ganesha and Skanda by the Vahanas of Lord Shiva and Parvati – Nandi and Simhadevi is a concept that is endearing, to say the least, and much relative to the storytelling by the elders in the family through whom children used to learn so many stories from our puranas in a much simpler and charming way.
Late SattirajuVenumadhav's voice was the life of many dance ballets and performances. And for the 'Tales from the Bull and the Tiger', he sang with such flourish that it took the audience on a divine journey. Revathi Prasad's jatis completed the ensemble of visual extravaganza. When one heard the diverse music pieces from various literary sources in the sonorous voice of Venu with a variety of modulations and instrumental music to go with it, lifting up the various moods in the stories being narrated by the Nandi and Simhadevi, one was transported to Kailasha, and brought back to the hard reality that the man of such talent did not receive the recognition he aptly deserved and unfortunately is no longer there in our midst.
A few of prominent verses include 'mahimmooladhare' from Adi Sankaracharya's Soundarya Lahari, the popular bhajan 'Bho Sambho' by Dayananda Saraswathi, 'Lingashtakam' and 'Sivathandava Stotram'. The energetic choreography rendered flawlessly by Ananda's students is another the highlights of this brilliant production. While, Ananda portrayed Parvathi in her usual best; Lord Siva personified by the amazing dancer from Bengaluru, Mithun Shyam took the Thandavam to another level.
A dance production or a ballet has various aspects to it, in addition to music and the dance itself. And it is not often that these elements fall into place in such precise manner as they did for ShankaranandaKalakshetra's 'Tales from the Bull and the Tiger' – an ideal tribute to SattirajuVenumadhav. The ballet was also staged in Bengaluru in his memory.