By Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan
Beautiful masterpieces have taken shape in each of the core classes – a Bharatiyar song with intricate jatis and ample scope for abhinaya was getting its finishing touches in the advanced Bharatanatyam core class, with Priyadarsini Govind stressing on clean finishes and neatness along with the usage of eyes to determine space and capture the audience. The Kalinga Nartanam piece the intermediate Bharatanatyam class was working on was aesthetically interspersed with firm footed nritta and serpentine movements to depict the snake.
The afternoon session started with a workshop by Mythili Prakash on Group Choreography She explored various aspects of group compositions like using a group to depict a theatrical idea, using people as props and patterns formed out of one another.
The sessions in Goodman Arts concluded with the second day of the Natya Sastra workshop where Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao covered an overview of the 36 chapters and started with the most enrapturing topic of the Rasa Theory in the Natya Sastra. The evening’s showcase programme by Leela Samson and Madhavi Mudgal, both past masters in their dance forms led the delegates and audience into a world of excellence and ecstasy.
There was really no rigorous dancing to be done. The intermediate Bharatanatyam participants had a session by Leela Samson on Applying Mind and Body to Dance, which gave the dancers an insight into how one should prepare herself/ himself before a dance programme andthe advanced Bharatanatyam group had a session by Priyadarsini Govind on Abhinaya.
The delegates walked in for the intense afternoon sessions looking quite relaxed and refreshed, not having sweated it out in core classes, but having imbibed a lot in the morning sessions. The first of the afternoon session was one by Venugopala Rao on Nayika Classification in Padams and Javalis. It was interesting to learn that by classification and sub-classification, there were nearly 384 Nayikas, but the total number of Nayakas classified were only four! Pappuji jokingly mentioned that this was so because all the books and treatises were written by men.
After a brief tea break, Pappuji took on the next session as a continuation of the Natya Sastra sessions from the previous days. Having further delved into the topic of Rasa and Bhava, he moved on to another vast topic, that of Abhinaya in the Natya Sastra. Here he stressed a bit more on Angika Abhinaya, which deals with bodily movements, with the Nritta Hastas demonstrated by Vaishnavi Anand, a disciple of Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam.
The last of the afternoon sessions for the day was by Priyadarsini Govind on Abhinaya for Padams. Priyadarsini, who specialised in Abhinaya under Kalanidhi Narayanan, has been highly acclaimed for her enrapturing and spontaneous abhinaya. She gave not only some valuable pointers on how to open the mind to abhinaya and cover space with one’s gaze, but also some immensely enjoyable and inspiring demonstrations. The showcase programmes in Esplanade were the next on everybody’s agenda as all the participants spruced themselves up and made a beeline to Esplanade-Theatres by the Bay. A splendid Kathak performance by Prashant Shah and an impressive high energy Bharatanatyam performance by Mythili Prakash gave a perfect culmination to the major sessions of Dance India 2013, and setting the stage for the valedictory and closing ceremonies on the following day.
Day 6 – Closing
Dance India Asia Pacific 2013 had brought to Singapore five days of wholesome pure dance and as it finally drew to a close, there was renewed enthusiasm in all the participants to take forth all their learning. Today the morning sessions were - Applying Mind and Body to Dance for advanced Bharatanatyam students, Abhinaya for intermediate Bharatanatyam students and the winding up of the core class for intermediate Odissi. The participants went back to their core classes after a breakfast break to finetune and polish what they had learnt. The teacher’s training class by Leela Samson witnessed how a class should be taken for young kids as the little ones from the Balabharatam class of Apsaras Arts came in for the session. The experience was a fulfilling one for the participants as well as the children. By noon, all the members of Dance India Asia Pacific 2013 moved to the Black Box at Goodman Arts for the closing ceremony. Each group presented what they had learnt in the 4 days for core classes and it was impressive to see how the teachers and students had managed to put up such a magnificent presentation in such a short while. Prashant Shah and Priyadarsini Govind spoke on behalf of the faculty and expressed how happy they were to see the commitment in this part of the World. Then came the handing out of certificates, a word by Premela on behalf of the students, and a heartfelt speech by Neila Sathyalingam, Founder and Artistic Director, Apsaras Arts, Singapore.
The delegates, faculty, organisers, press and volunteers mingled for a delectable lunch and photo sessions, thus bringing Dance India Asia Pacific to a very satisfying and fulfilling close.