Today is Thursday, just another random Thursday where I go about my day, doing nothing out of the ordinary, and waiting for the weekend. Last Thursday, however, was different...
One of the most striking similarity between Indian performing arts is the fact that they all heavily draw influences from nature- be it the Hindustani classical music ragas, or the mudras and stances of Bharatnatyam. Hence, it was but only natural for NCPA to choose 'pashu' as the theme for their sixth edition of Mudra Dance Festival as a way to appreciate the animal symbolisms in Indian mythology.
Mudra Dance Festival's primary intent is to celebrate the Indian performing arts heritage by placing them in different contexts. This year the festival ran from 21st April to 24th April. And this was exactly what I got a chance to witness last Thursday.
The inaugural dance performance of Mudra Dance Festival '16 titled 'Hamsoham- the soul of Indian art & philosophy' by accomplished Kuchipudi dancer Bhavna Reddy was what can aptly be titled 'mesmerising'.
The recital explored the Mahabharata-era story of the mythological Hamsa or the Golden Swan and the crucial role this bird played in bringing together Princess Damayanti and King Nala. We, the audience, were informed in the prologue that it was Lord Shiva who took the form of the Golden Swan to unite Nala and Damayanti!
The powerful yet elegant choreography, devised by Kuchipudi maestro Raja Radha Reddy, was a treat to the soul. And I am not exaggerating when I say that Bhavna Reddy's swan-like grace brought the Golden Swan to life for the duration of that recital; my eyes were fully glued to the stage, not blinking even once so as not to miss a nanosecond of her performance.
I also got to witness a Mayurbhanj Chhau performance by Rakesh Saibabu portraying the life cycle of Garuda, the vahana or mount of Lord Vishnu. Least to say, it was spectacular and exposed me to a dance form I was completely unaware of. I also got a little insight into the history of Mayurbhanj Chhau, that, Mayurbhanj Chhau's martial style comes from the fact that it was performed to lift the spirits of soldiers!
So now you know what set my last Thursday apart from the hordes of Thursdays this year.
P.S. I have not taken the pictures above. Due to photography restrictions inside NCPA, I couldn't. These are the official pictures of the event.