Each year dance and theatre enthusiasts in Mumbai await the exquisite annual Dance Festival organised by the NCPA and this year’s festival fell nothing short of what we expected. Being a lover of the performing arts I was thrilled when I was invited to attend the Opening Eveneing of Mudra 2016.
This year The Mudra Dance Festival was woven around the influence of animals and birds and their movements in dance, featuring various dance forms such as Kuchipudi, Chhau, Kathakali, Odissi, Manipuri and Kathak. The festival fell between the dates of 21st-24th April and in addition to the varied traditional dance performances it also included a talk by acclaimed author Devdutt Pattanaik, a lecture demonstration by Dr. Jayashree Rajagopalan and kalaripayattu by BelrajSoni as well as a workshop exploring animal movements in MayurbhanjChhau by Santosh Nair.
Swapnokalpa Dasgupta, Head – Programming – Dance, NCPA said, “Animals and birds are one of the most common entities on which movements in Indian classical dance are based. They play very significant roles in our lives from being worshipped as vehicles of the Gods or playing pivotal roles in mythological as well as folk tales. From Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva to the tribal Goddess Manasa, Mudra 2016 promises a treat for all story lovers in the city.”
I was very fortunate to attend the opening acts of the festival, ‘Hamsoham – the soul of Indian art and philosophy’ (Swan), a Kuchipudi performance by Bhavna Reddy and ‘Flight of Garuda’, Chhau performance by Rakesh Saibabu.
Bhavana Reddy is an acclaimed Kuchipudi Dancer and Singer-Songwriter and the daughter of the legendary dancing couple Padmabhushans Raja Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy.
The choreography, “Hamsoham- Swan as a Soul” was inspired by a beautiful narrative from Mahabharata available in Sanskrit and Telugu language, where Bhavana Reddy plays a golden swan named ‘Hamsa’, an embodiment of Shiv Shakti. With the rhythmic syllables from Granthas, the talented dancer created the different dialogues, gestures and body movements depicting the interaction of the swan with King Nala and Princess Damyanti leading to their romantic union.
Bhavana is undoubtedly a perfectionist. Her grace and poise kept the audience captivated for the entire duration of the performance. The precise and tender gestures and beautiful movements truly brought the image of the swan to life and as viewers in the audience we were astounded by her balance and precision.
Bhavana has more than two decades of experience in dance. Though the dance is her family legacy, the Reddy’s true passion lies in pursuing music. In 2013, she had the unique opportunity of performing at the Grammy Award’s after-party in Los Angeles, USA.
I truly hope to see more such acts by Bhavana as it is not too often that we get to witness such fine Kuchipudi performances in our city.
Look out for this wonderful artist and if you ever happen to find Bhavana performing in your city, be sure to buy a ticket and I assure you, you wont be disappointed!
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