Sculpturesque steps. Innovation and creativity is intrinsic to art forms. Bharatanatyam artiste Rajeswari Sainath is known for her creative artistic presentations which are not just novel but well researched and well presented in a unique way in Bharatanatyam.
Innovation and creativity is intrinsic to art forms. Bharatanatyam artiste Rajeswari Sainath is known for her creative artistic presentations which are not just novel but well researched and well presented in a unique way in Bharatanatyam.
Be it the choreography or the rhythmic patterns in music as well as dance, the attention given is enormous and the outcome is intricate and spell-binding. Rajeswari’s association with the renowned mridangam maestro Karaikudi Mani has fructified in many riveting thematic ballets which have enthralled connoisseurs and the lay people worldwide.
Vyshanvie Sainath, Rajeswari’s daughter, has been blessed with these artistic genes and she is not just carrying forward the tradition of her mother but is also a torch bearer amongst the younger generation. Within a short span of few years, Vyshnavie has earned awards and accolades for dance performances in different parts of India and the world.
Her performance of Silpam at Ravindra Bharati on Saturday, May 16, was testimony of fluency and finesse in Bharatanatyam and Odissi. Inspired by the Greek work Metamorphoses, Silpam is an innovative presentation of the story of a sculptor and his sculpture through the medium of dance.
In essence, it fused the art forms of sculpture and dance. It is a simple story of a sculptor who is commissioned by the king to make a beautiful sculpture of the girl, which the sculptor does. In fact the sculptor outshines himself in creating this beautiful piece in ivory and admiring it.
And one day the sculpture comes to life and he falls in love. In all his love and admiration for this beauty he forgets about the king. But will the king forget this and give up the sculpture? An infuriated kind threatens to cut off the sculptor’s hand.
The sculpture realises that if the sculptor loses his hands it would be a loss to art world. So, she feels why should the king and the sculptor fight over her? Hence, she returns to the world of the lifeless as she thinks that is better!
Vyshanvie executed this simple, yet strong story beautifully in her solo performance. Primarily in Bharatanatyam, Vyshnavie peppered this presentation with some Odissi and North Indian dance. She brought out the myriad emotions effectively through her strong abhinaya, and her footwork was intricate and scintillating.
The way Vyshnavie is able to bend her body in various movements and poses is remarkable. Through Silpam, Vyshnavie created a number of ‘sculpturesque’ postures which were artistic yet incredible. Throughout the one and a half hours of the presentation she took the breath of the audience away with such astonishing jatis and abhinaya.
The costume was appropriate to each mood and with minimum changes Vyshnavie was able to set the tone right. The flow of the dance was akin to the chisel – slow, smooth and steady to create a breathtaking effect. The music was a highpoint which also enhanced the presentation.
The live orchestra with a number of percussion instruments like mridangam, tabla, pakhawaj besides flute sarangi etc was quite a delight to hear even during the short interludes. The musicians (vocal, nattuvangam as well) surely deserve praise for their effort.
It is not so easy to visualise and execute an abstract story on stage and that too in classical format. Vyshnavie and her mother Rajeshwari have conceptualised this innovative presentation well with the overall guidance of Guru Karaikudi Mani. On the whole, Silpam was a visually, musically aesthetic experience to see, hear and cherish.
By Radhika Rajamani