Although students of several Bharatanatyam schools longed to join the annual dance camp Natya Sangraham, organized by the Narada Gana Sabha Trust, dance festival programmes in several local sabhas prevented them from attending the workshop. However nearly 22 students from different parts of the globe participated in it with the usual enthusiasm.
While the music aspect was covered by vidwan T.V. Ramprasadh, his wife Indira Kadambi took care of the technicalities relating to satvika abhinaya and angika. The convener of the workshop, Prof. C.V. Chandrasekar, while overall in charge of the day’s proceedings, focused his attention on workout sessions. These sessions turned out to be vigorous at times and CVC personally corrected the positions of the participants during their work out.
Vidwan Ramprasadh sang the kritis for which Indira Kadambi demonstrated the abhinaya. These included Ramanukku mannan mudi tharithaale from Arunachalakavi’s Ramanatakam and Suryamurte of Muthuswami Dikshitar. Ramprasad stressed the importance of the dancer knowing the kriti. “Try to put in extra effort to sing the song, train yourself to sing your composition,” was his fervent plea to the dancers. According to him, it adds an extra dimension to the artist’s performance.
Indira Kadambi demonstrated the dance for certain kritis sung by Ramprasadh and showed how the dancer could ornament it with each word and sentence. “Like niraval in music, it is also relevant to dance” she said and added that “it provided ample scope for the performer’s imaginative skill.”
She demonstrated abhinaya for the lines Paadhi udalil pennai maraithirupanadi from a Tamil kriti in Todi. Here she drew the attention of the participants to the scope for robust imagination.
Indira also demonstrated certain passages to explain angika aspects.
The poetry appreciation session by Dr. Sudha Seshayyan was, as usual, a treat for the participants. “Poetry need not be connected to words at all, it is beyond words", she said. She allayed the fears of a few who raised the question, ‘Can poetry appreciation be taught in a session?’ According to her, appreciation comes from interpretation. Sudha dwelt at length on poems from Kannadasan to Kamban, drawing references to situation, mood and the art of communication.
The participants demonstrated the lines Thedi choru nidham thinru of Bharatiyar depending upon their understanding of the crux of the poetic narrative and drew applause from the faculty.
“Allow the poem to sink in. Ask questions. Be emotional. Have sensory experience. Try to live it!” she advised.
V.V. Ramani spoke about the costume revolution. He said that there was no stitched costume in the good old days and how after the advent of films, costume designers were introduced and tailors entered the arena. He emphasized the importance of stage aesthetics. At the same time, he cautioned that once the artiste begins to dance, it pales into insignificance. He advised the participants to do some home work with regard to stage. They should take into account the colour of the costume they wear and the colour of the backdrop on the stage. Dancers should take pay attention to the costume, because the audience comes to watch the dancers perform, not the stage décor, light or tendency to fill up the stage, which is also distracting. Ramani advised the participants not to overdo things.
In his aharya session, Ramani requested the services of Balaji Bhattacharyar of the Panduranga temple to demonstrate the wearing of panchakacham properly.
There was a brief session on compering for progammes in which well known stage artist and director and Natyarangam committee member P.C. Ramakrishna gave some useful hints and tips.
The merriment of the villagers around Tennangur was seen on the days of Dolotsavam and Golden Chariot, when vidwan T.V. Ramprasadh (vocal) and committee member K.S. Subramanian (mridangam) entertained them with music. The evening dance presentations by participants also drew visitors to the auditorium. They sat with eyes glued to the stage and enjoyed the performances.
On Republic Day, flag hoisting by Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar was followed by singing of patriotic songs in which all the members of Tennangur temple management and the staff of the caterers enthusiastically participated.