Wellingtonians await North-South meet in Classical style

Venkat Raman

Lovers of Indian classical dances can expect a double treat of Bharata Natyam and Kathak styles at what promises to be a spectacular event in the Capital next month.

Students of the Wellington based Mayur Dance Academy will witness the South Indian and North Indian dance formats at Sacred Heart College located at 65 Laings Road, Lower Hutt on August 5, 2017.

The Programme, third in an annual series, will bring alive the time-honoured traditions of India, demonstrating the abiding interest evinced by the younger generations, cutting across barriers of ethnicity and language.

Tribute to Lord Murugan

The first part of the Programme will be devoted to Lord Murugan, the Tamil God and His victory over ‘Soora Padman,’ an evil king whose reign of terror and refusal to obey Lord Shiva caused anguish among the people and Demi-Gods.

In Hinduism, not only does God take several forms but also several faces within the same Avatar. Vishnu is a constant factor of evolution, ending period and space, whilst others too have a ceremonial role.

Lord Murugan or Lord Subramaniam is one such. Born out of the collective strengths of Shiva and Parvathi, He is considered the epitome of beauty, valour, generosity and compassion.

Although essentially a God of the Tamils, Murugan has been mentioned in Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’, Patanjali’s works, ‘Kumarasambhavam,’ an epic poem by Kalidasa and in the Sanskrit drama ‘Mricchakatika.’

The worship of ‘Kumara’ was one of the six principal sects of Hinduism at the time of Adi Shankara. In many Shiva Temples of Tamil Nadu, Subramaniam can be found to the left of the main deity.

Essence of Tamil God

The essence of Murugan will be captured by the students of Mayur Dance Academy as they present Lord Murugan and ‘Soora Samharam’ or the Vanquish of Soora Padman.

Based on ‘Kanda Puranam’ (Skanda Purana), Soora Samhaaram portrays the main purpose of the being of Lord Murugan, created by Lord Shiva (according to one version, by His Consort Parvathi) to destroy Soorapadman.

Apart from reinstating the belief that Truth will always triumph and that the Good will always vanquish evil, Kanda Puranam depicts the beauty, grace, dignity and courage of Lord Murugan. Known as the ‘God of Six faces’ (‘Shanmugan’), Murugan later marries Devayani, the daughter of Lord Indira and Valli, the daughter of a hunter.

Story through Dance

Kathak, a glorious dance style popular in North India, will form the second part of the annual production of Mayur Dance Academy.

Kathak is a classical dance form that traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient Northern India, known as Kathakars or storytellers, primarily as a means of portraying the epic tales. It absorbed traces of temple and ritual dances, the influence of the Bhakti Movement and certain features of Persian and Central Asian dances imported by the Royal Courts of the Mughal era.

Out of three major schools or Gharanas of Kathak, Mayur Dance Academy specialises in the Jaipur Gharana, which was born in the courts of the Kachwaha Rajput Kings.

Suparna Basu, Director and Principal of the Academy, said that Kathak is marked as a perfect combination of scintillating Ghungroo rhythms, dramatic footwork, spectacular spins and subtle expression.

“Yet, it is an ever-evolving dance form that embodies beauty and soul. Dance symbols can be as effective as language or music symbols for dramatic communication. What sets dance apart is the universality in movement and gesture, which is not bound like language, nationality or Culture. Dance transcends geography and humanises expression,” she said.

Ms Basu said that Bharata Natyam and Kathak use special musical effects of different rhythmic patterns executed by the dancer’s feet, which are enhanced and multiplied by the use of Ghungroo.

“Bharata Natyam is a form of sacred and meditative dance Yoga and had deep-rooted divine origin. Our students learning Kathak will present the story of the Woman and her awakening through the pages of history. This dance journey is one through which families will experience the artful narrative of Indian stories,” she said.

About the Academy

Established in 2012 with 11 students, Mayur Dance Academy has grown to be a major Indian Classical Dance institute in Wellington with classes held in Johnsonville, Petone and Miramar. It prides itself of a syllabus and an examination system with certificates and mark sheets, for each of the dance forms taught. The Academy follows a skill-based system under which students are categorised by their skill level rather than their duration as a student.

Tickets for the event, priced at $10 per person (free for children under five years of age) are now available.

Further details can be obtained from Suparna Basu on 021-1431341.

Email: suparna.basu2010@gmail.com

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Photo Caption:

Bharata Natyam coaching in progress at Mayur Dance Academy

Dance training starts at an early age

Kathak was patronised by Mughals in India

(Pictures supplied)

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