Bharatanatyam dancer Rama Vaidyanathan capped this year's Natya Kala Conference with a captivating talk-dem recital at Krishna Gana Sabha in T. Nagar, Chennai in late December. And showed us why she is one of our best Bharatanatyam dancers today.
Her chosen subject in the 'Power of 10' theme of this Conference (convener - Swapnasundari) was 'Jeeva Dashaavastha' and she sourced a hymn of the Sikh guru, Guru Nanak - which talks about the desires in the ten stages of man from the embryonic to the end of mortality, desires mostly that border on excess.
Rama told the audience (this morning there were about 150 people from the poor 50 on Day One) how she worked on the verses and let her lead vocalist, Dr. S. Vasudevan, also a dancer explain how the lyrics and music were chosen to suit it.
Then followed what was a great session of dance which got a standing ovation.
Prior to this, Kerala-based Kuchipudi dancer Sreelakshmi Govardhanan who had chosen Manmatha Dasavastha' as her theme also presented a good performance, abhinaya-based - designing her piece on the ten stages a man or woman goes through in a state of love, choosing to elaborate on Radha's psycho-experience with Krishna.
Dr. Anupama Kylash assisted Swapnasundari to roll out the academic sessions ; she even did the on-stage work since the sabha staff were missing often!
Dancer Zakir Hussain raised a point at the Q&A session - indicating instances where there was more of performance and less of the lec-dem presentation by chosen artistes.
That point needs debate and discussion - to ensure the Natya Kala meet is more meaningful. Though, and sadly too you hardly find dance students and dancers attending these sessions.