By Kedar Mishra

Bharat Naytam performance by the artistes of Guru Leela Samson 's Kalakshetra from Mumbai
Bharat Natyam performance by the artistes of Guru Leela Samson 's Kalakshetra from Mumbai
Bhubaneswar: Desire to move is a way of life. To live is to move and movements are different from person to person. One enjoys this journey by enjoying every steps he put on earth. The movement is physical and it sometimes also goes beyond it. The Ananda or bliss is the target which is beyond this body. That journey is for a supreme liberation. In dance how do we experience this process of journey? Step by step, pause by pause, the movements create an abode. That is emptiness. In a superbly composed choreography of Leela Samson, one can listen the finest sound of liberation when the stage is empty. Leela’s choreography on the concluding day of on going Samrachana, the national choreography festival organized by State Sangeet Natak Academy in collaboration with Department of Tourism and Culture, created a lot of more expressible emptiness or the void on stage. The void in between entry and exit of the dancers to the stage which was much revealing. Geometrical movement of well balanced and highly disciplined dancers sprang up a celestial poetry for the audience present there. The movement was also a dominating theme in Sharmila Biswas’s work titled Gati Bilash. Its all about Gati or movements. Sharmila took up the move of a lion, horse, swan, cuckoo, peacock and others and weaved the gaits to create an outstanding choreographic work. In fact it was a grand finale of Samrachana, where all five presentations were perfectly soul stirring.

Song of the Space

Exploring space within and without, also feeling that vibration in your self – sounds very philosophic. Yes, it was very philosophic, yet very simple. Spanda, the brilliant choreography composed by Leela Samson way back in 1995, is a brilliant piece of work. Exploration of space, line and timing was so perfect that it looked like an esoteric Vedic verse, composed in a very enlightened mood. One can see a great impact of verses from the void, which is having a great tradition in India – very less explored by our classical composer. Power of abstraction was so mesmerizing in Leelaji’s composition that one can simply say a wow. The pure and perfect repertory of Kalakshetra, presented Leelaji’s work with absolute sincerity and flawless perfection. It was pure geometry moving in and out. For me, the essence of this work is a kind of speechless existence. Don’t say anything, just go on meditating.

Bharat Naytam performance by the artistes of Guru Leela Samson 's Kalakshetra from Mumbai
Bharat Natyam performance by the artistes of Guru Leela Samson 's Kalakshetra from Mumbai
Leelaji’s second presentation Charishnu or the desire to move on is another piece of marvel. The movement and its manifold execution in human life was portrayed in a highly sensitive way. It’s not the movement of body, its all about the soul. The soul, free from all identities. It’s a dance of humanity. Celebrating free and pure humanity through dance. Bharat Natyam in its traditional Margam, created something extremely extra ordinary. For Spanda, music was composed by versatile O.S. Arun and for Charishnu, Madhup Mudgal scored the music. Music was like a river of bliss in both the presentation. Power of abstraction came to charm all class of audience. It could equally charm highly sensible Rasikas to that of ordinary audience.

Charm of Off- bit

Odissi performance by Sharmila Biswas from Kolkata on the concluding evening
Odissi performance by Sharmila Biswas from Kolkata on the concluding evening
Equally powerful was Sharmila Biswas and her group of dancers from Kolkota. Three of her well known compositions Gati Bilash, Katha Surpanakha and Abartan Bibartan came up very well. Gati Bilash is a pure dance and can be branded as Sabhinaya Pallavi. Tremendous energy, smooth and appropriate movement and graceful gestures made Gati Bilash a highly impressive composition. The calculative movement and stylist lining on stage created a magic of circle which had the amalgam of many beautiful birds and animals. Lion coming up as a king with its royal gait, peacock, dancing and swinging in joy and so on.

Odissi performance by Sharmila Biswas from Kolkata on the concluding evening
Odissi performance by Sharmila Biswas from Kolkata on the concluding evening
I have watched Katha Surpanakha(one of the finest choreography in Odissi style. Personally I rate Krishna Janma Katha and Katha Surpanakha as two of the finest works after our grand master’s work), done by Saswati Garai and Ayona Bhaduri, both disciples of Sharmila Biswas. This time Sharmila came up as a solo artist doing this highly moving number. I like the way she used the puppet masks to introduce the theme. Her expressions were simply evocative. One must learn from Katha Surpanakha, how to use a negative character as human. Its an extremely sensitive human based script, musically molded as a tremendous Desi piece of work. Use of folk rhythm, sur and expression made it a highly aesthetic number of Abhinaya. Final one Abartan Bibartan was a bit different. Sharmila is always off the bit and that is her strength. Odissi Taal pattern was used as a game and finally it turned out to be an ecstatic sport of rhythmic experience. It was a complete package of delight. A befitting finale of the Samrachana.

Governor Shri M C Bhandare felicitating Guru Leela Samson on the concluding day
Governor Shri M C Bhandare felicitating Guru Leela Samson on the concluding day
On the final day Governor Shri Muralidhar Chandrakant Bhandare joined as Chief Guest and honored the artistes.

Debi Prasad Mishra, Odisha Forest & Environment Minister, Dr. Sarat Pujari, President, OSNA, Shri Ashok Kumar Tripathy, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture Department, Shri Susil Kumar Das, Director, Culture and Guru Aruna Mohanty, Vice President, OSNA, Sangeeta Gosain, Odissi vocalist, Guru Ramahari Das,Odissi vocalist-composer graced the evening as the guests.