A thing of beauty is a joy forever

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The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble performs at Confluence

When dance goes beyond movement and expression of the physical self to celebrate and reflect the joy and pain of existence, tuned by creative skill and imagination, it transcends into what we call art.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble.Indian Link
Photo: Shalini Jain

Enriching the audience with a divine experience, the artists from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble performed in the Odissi style of Indian classical dance at the Sydney Opera House, as part of the Confluence Festival of India in Australia.

The tinkling bells of the dancers and the rhythm of the drums pulsated through the silence, as light shimmered on to the idol of Jagannatha, the resident deity of Orissa. The dancers offered obeisance to Devi in the Vandanam, glorifying her many facets, to create, protect and destroy. Meandering on stage soon after, Ritu vasanth was a sheer joy to behold. One saw creation and the beauty of nature unfold through the intricate movements and nuances of the dancers.

nrityagram dance ensemble.Indian Link
Photo: Nan Melville

As much as the dance Ritu vasanth explored the realms of the beauty around us, the ashtapadhi, Dheera sameere, examined the beauty of the inner self and the longing of the soul for the supreme, in the form of the gopis yearning for Lord Krishna. A soulful and lyrical Meera bhajan calmed the audience and led us to reflect on human existence. This heralded a Shivashtakam that carried a punch, with the audience glued to every move of the dancers as they swayed and swirled in abandon.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble.Indian Link

One could not walk away from this performance without mention of the choreography and music, which opened endless opportunities to both dancers and musicians for melodic, harmonic and dynamic interpretation. Choreographer Surupa Sen and dancers Bijayini Satpathy and Pavithra Reddy excelled with scintillating movement, striking formations and sculpturesque poses exploring the silence punctuating the rhythm. The dancers were singing with their bodies and the musicians dancing with their tunes; the two were inseparable in a communion of bliss for the audience.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” said the famous English poet John Keats. Having witnessed the beauty of the Nrityagram artists, the audience walked out of The Opera House with a little piece of joy nestled deep in their hearts.

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Hamsa Venkat is a keen explorer of the art form of Bharathanatyam and is a dancer from the Kalakshetra School of dancing in Chennai