Tradition, New Thinking in the Spot light
Curation is what makes a conference or a festival or a show good.
By Day 4 (at YCPA, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha), you knew that the Natya Kala Conference curator, Dr Srinidhi Chidambaram’s homework and curation was not only falling into place but making this seminar a good one.
Saturday’s opening session was a stunner; credit must also go to three senior dancers who made it happen.
One varnam, many banis was the theme.
The styles of Vazhuvoor, Pandanallur and Kittappa Pillai were highlighted. Sami ninne.... was taken up.
Meenakshi Chittaranjan held up the Padanallur style - dance learnt from guru Subbaraya Pillai - a dance excerpt that showed common and differences in the varnam.
“Our jatis were short and sharp. No frills. They were like an exercise in précis writing..”
Narthaki Nataraj and Urmila Satyanarayana then followed her, demonstrating the way they had learnt this from their gurus.
Outside, as the rain came down thunderously but briefly, this was indeed a great session.
Dancer Shilpika Bordoloi spoke on ‘Manipuri for the Modern Times’ - to hold up the examples of how young dancers are moving the classical to theatre and other movements to create their own dance works.
Shilpika learnt Manipuri, then Bharatanatyam and Kalaripayyatu and went back to Manipuri. She has adopted theatre and movement into her recent works.
Screening snippets from her recent works and presenting a demo, she showed us how she has conceived works for today.
Interesting this was but a number of people in the audience skipped it - to have coffee and catch up outside - and Shilpa didn’t get much time to dialogue.
The sessions seem too tight and scheduling needs rethink. The response from the audience must have been a tad disheartening for Shilpika.
Bengaluru-based dancer Rukmini Vijaykumar then presented her recent works - again highlighting her approach to engage young audiences.