The weekend programmes at Shilparamam commenced with a Bharatanatyam recital on Saturday by Murugashankari and her Students from Chennai. They started with a “Saalam Daru” in praise of Goddess Shakti composed by Sarabhoji Maharaja, which is a traditional invocatory song popular during the Maratha Nayak rule in Tanjore.

“Nila Kauthuvam” is an ancient composition from the Tamil text Silappadikaram, which is in praise of the moon and wards off evil eyes. Next was Shambhu Natanam composed by Patanjali Muni on Shiva as the cosmic dancer. “Shakti Koothu” was appropriately in the Shiva Shakti Raagam in praise of the Universal Mother. “Ardhanarishwara Stotram” of Adisankaracharya reminds us that Shiva is beyond gender and this form encompasses both the masculine and feminine.

Shiva manifests consciousness and Shakti manifests energy. A Meera bhajan "Jo Tum Todo Piya" beautifully described Meera singing - "If you leave me, I will cease to exist". Madhurashtakam of Saint Vallabhacharya uses the word "sweet" as a repeated refrain to describe the attributes of Lord Krishna, who is sweetness personified. Though the nectar and ambrosia may satiate, no devotee can be content without beholding the sweet form of the Lord forever!

Sunday's Bharatanatyam recital by Bianca Radhakrishna from Bangalore started with a Thyagaraja Krithi,"Sogasuga" in Sriranjani. This composition unusually attributes the composer himself as being versatile and proficient (Dheera) to compose with fluency according to grammatical rules a perfect Krithi on Lord Rama, soaked with Bhakti, possessing a pleasant rhythm and clarity of syllable, which also contained a choreography of the Navarasas.

"Paalkadal Alaimele" in Ragamalika explained the Dasavataras (Ten incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. Mandodari Shabdam describes the story of Frog Princess Mandodari and the Demon King Ravana. The artiste skillfully depicted alternatively both the characters. This was followed by a Kathak programme by Archana Mishra and her students. Geenati is a Hindi word which means counting. Here the basic 16-beat “teentaal” is the first item taught to students of Kathak. Elegantly performed, it also contained a “Bhajan Ka Tatkaar”. 

Next was “Chaturang” composed and choreographed by Pandit Birju Maharaj. It contained four elements – Sahitya, Sargam, Tarana and Trivat; using syllables of dance and musical instruments. “Tarana” by Pandit Ravi Shankar is a piece of Hindustani classical music and is based on Persian and Arabic phrases. A piece by flute created a mesmerising ambience. "Nazakat" is an Urdu word, which means neatness and a subtly graceful feminine elegance. “Ghungroo” is an inevitable accessory and compliments the dancer in spinning magic with her feet. A vibrant finale by all the dancers concluded the programme. 

By Anna Rao Gangavalli