Bridging tradition & modernity in Bharatanatyam

Bridging tradition & modernity in Bharatanatyam

Founded by Bhavana Gowri, Maya Dance Company pioneers contemporary Bharatanatyam, seamlessly blending tradition with innovation to captivate audiences nationwide

Maya Dance Company was founded by Bhavana Gowri to create contemporary choreographies attempting to bridge the gap between the timeless art form of Bharatanatyam and the modern world. The vision contained here is that everyone deserves to experience the joy of dance. Bhavana is well-versed in fitness training, yoga teaching, as well as instructing in creative movement art. She has also delved into the martial art form of Kalaripayattu. Sparking interest in an audience beyond the dance community to ensure continued growth is the endeavour.

The company has travelled and performed all over India to well-deserved appreciation. The highlight was the coming together of performers from different Bharatanatyam institutes to demonstrate their unity and uniformity while retaining the diverse creativity of their own gurus’ styles. The variegated colours of the costumes gave a rainbow appearance to their combination. This idea is the novel concept of Bhavana, and she has to be congratulated for seamlessly achieving her aim.

The program at Shilparamam held on the weekend was a tribute to the tireless patience and hard work of Bhavana, bearing the hallmark of the numerous painstaking rehearsals required to bring a high level of synchrony and symmetry. Her own younger students in blue and red aharya were also part of the recital. The traditional alarippu was given a new age spin and was danced to an avant-garde track from the Indian raga series.

Done by the collaborative ensemble consisting of Bhavana Gowri, Basava Sourabh, Srihita Atmakur, Doyal Jha, and Ananya Mehta with elan and brimming with zest, this was truly a very warm welcome to the evening of Bharatanatyam! The grammar of the art form was delineated with clarity. The young students of Bhavana - Nishka Singh, Purva Makhana, Ayra Bachu, and Ruhani Sai Bachu then went onstage to present Natesha kauthvam in Hamsadhvani.

Their crisp movements and graceful poses enthusiastically described the form and iconography of Lord Shiva as the one who is worshipped by the Sages, dances the Tandavam with Bells on his Feet and Damaru in one Hand, wears Tiger Skin, holds the Trishul, has Nandi the Bull as his Vahana, and the Sun and Moon as his ornaments. A jathiswaram in Ragamalika followed.

The students strung together steps in different permutations and combinations characterized by powerful body movements and footwork. The centerpiece was “Shakti,” an original choreography by Bhavana. It was awe-inspiring and emanating strength as the gestures aptly denoted the forms required in the language of dance. Innumerable identities make her multiplicity all-encompassing. The modern Woman is her embodiment was the interpretation of the dancers’ drawing parallels between the various forms of Devi and the multifarious aspects of present-day Women.

Ardhanareeshwara was interestingly depicted as the presence of masculine and feminine energy in the human race irrespective of gender. Embedded was the story of Jhansi Ki Rani who was a forerunner of the freedom struggle. This was well-ideated. The artistes created striking combinations in medley as they formed groups radiating energetic vibrantly expressive Nritta. The large semicircular stage gave scope for the audience to perceive the riveting tableaux from different angles.

The music was taken from Priyadarshini Govind’s “Pradarshana” audio. Shakti through various eras was indeed spellbinding. It was truly a whirlwind of artistry and passion. “Vishamakara Kannan” was by the younger group who enchantingly rendered the mischievous antics of Krishna. Looking like a dark Cloud, he plays the Flute delightfully to steal Everyone’s Hearts. Krishna teases a Girl by demanding she sing in Mukhari ragam and when she expresses her inability to do so, pinches her and deems her startled cry as being in that raga! This was done with humour and verve.

The students were adorable and captivated the spectators as the story ended with the subjugation of the Serpent Kaliya. The last item to round off the performance was a thillana in Kadanakuthuhalam. Here all the artistes were together for the final encore as the senior group started briskly and the junior group joined in to weave the pattern of Nritta movements which predominantly adorn these pieces in delightful rhythm which also have a little bit of abhinaya on a Deity. Composed by Balamuralikrishna, the Sahityam is dedicated to Lord Krishna.

The compering was by Alankritha Mandadi who very interestingly gave an aura of warmth and intimacy with little personal touches to applause. Mr. P.V. Prabhakar Rao, Son of late Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna P.V. Narasimha Rao graced the occasion as a special Guest.

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