Round up, part 1

ankura youth festival 2003

A platform for Young Classical Dancers

Ankura is organized by Karnataka Nrityakala Parishath to encourage talent in the age group of 18-25 years giving them an opportunity to perform.

The 9th Ankura Festival was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan this year. For eight years it was held at the Yuvanika auditorium under the co-sponsorship of Youth Services. The festival is gaining popularity amongst the youth. All forms of classical dance are encouraged. The selection criterion is the completion of arangetram or vidwath exams by the candidates who apply. The candidates have to do a varnam as it has both the nayika and nayaka bhavas. The Parishath is perhaps a little orthodox in insisting only on the varnam.

There were 10 performers – all were unfortunately only Bharatanatyam dancers. What is happening to artists who are learning Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, etc????!!!

Kalyana sougandhigam-kathakali inside out for a layman

Dance lovers in the city got to view a unique Kathakali performance-a Kathakali performance in its original form. Kalyana Sougandhigam, a full-fledged Kathakali performance based on a mythological story from Mahabharata was presented by Natya Vedi. The programme not only showed various facets of the classical dance form such as Keli, Purapadu and Ranga Pooja, but also had a running commentary for the benefit of the audience.

There was also an interactive session with translation in English and a lecture demonstration about the dance form. Kathakali being a hard core classical form of art, it is often not easy to comprehend. Hence the interactive session (with mudras) along with the running commentary helped the audience to understand it better.

“The objective is to convey the true perspective of the performance even to those who are not aware of the literature, language and theme of the story,” explained Rajani Pradeep Menon of Natya Vedi. Another aim of the programme was to raise funds for struggling artists.

Kudos to the efforts of Natya Vedi which came into existence to help artists who are rich in talent but need a platform to showcase it. Though the show was well appreciated by all those who attended it, it is regrettable that the show did not get any sponsors.

Wish many sponsors will come forward to support good causes such as this, and that members of the art community support one another in sustaining themselves.


Abhinava Arts Center organized an enlightening talk by Dr. R. Ganesh, an eminent scholar, on Ashtanayika, followed by an enchanting performance Bhamini depicting ashtanayikas by Mantap Prabhakar Upadhya, an artist par excellence who has specialised in Sthreevesha (lady characters) in Yakshagana style.

Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form combining dance, music, spoken words, costumes, make-up, etc. with a distinct style Sthreevesha (lady characters) is not very prominent in this art form.

Shringara is the supreme expression, the most beautiful of all. It is the fountainhead of all art forms. With this in mind, Mantap Prabhakar Upadhya portrayed all the ashtanayikas appropriately. Each nayika was also presented in apt color costumes.

The ashtanayikas were all shown in a day’s cycle by one nayika. The ashtanayikas depicted were:

Proshitapathika: The nayika is unable to bear a temporary separation from her husband.

Vasakasajjika; Coming to know that he is returning home, the nayika rejoices – she adorns herself and decorates her surroundings and eagerly expects her husband’s arrival.

Abhisarika: When he does not turn up by sunset, she boldly goes in search of him and waits for him at the outskirts of the town.

Virahothkhanditha: The nayika is in agony as her husband has not returned.

Khanditha: Having suspected that her husband has been to another woman, when he returns home she insults him and bars his entry into the house in anger.

Kalahantharita: She regrets her hasty behaviour of not allowing her husband into the house.

Swadhinapathika: When the husband later dispels her suspicions and reassures her that he will always be faithful to her, the nayika feels blessed, proud and happy.

It would ahve been nice if more artists had watched this wonderful performance. A great learning experience for all, especially dancers!