Brilliant Birju’s compositions and choreographies. Wah Maharaj!!

When Mallika, Indira and I set out to Kamani for the Kathak Repertory show yesterday, I did not have a slight inkling of what I can expect, though I always enjoyed the performances of the talent from the kathak kendra. This is a two day repertory show of the kendra, and I managed to take some time out to watch the first day…

To say the least, the compositions and choreography has been brilliant!! There were four compositions…Kramashaha by Kishanmaharaj(sequence),and the rest of them – Naada (sounds of various percussion instruments), Ghunghroo (notes of music sa, re, ga, ma, pa, da, ni) and finally ‘Anamya’ all by Birju Maharaj.

Kramshaha...sequential vibrancy!!

Kramashah was good in costumes and choreography with those flowing pristine whites, the five dancers (three ladies and two gents..) moved in a sequence and also created patterns with the movements and rythm. The piece warmed the audience up for the next two pieces.

Naada...dance of percussions

The vision, concept and choreography of the ‘Naada’ piece was simply outstanding.. I never imagined or gave a thought for such a composition and choreography… The musical piece composed slowly introduces one percussion instrument at a time….. each instrument represented by one dancer. During the course of the piece, you have pakhawaj, tabla, dholl, mridangam, symbal … in all seven or eight instruments. As a new instrument is introduced, the already existing instruments on the stage express varied emotions to the arrival of the new instrument… you get to see all emotions enacted by each or composite of the instruments. Beats on an instrument is expressed in the form of fast kathak movements on the stage in synch with the beats. So, when the combination of instruments are played in the form of vadhyavrindha, the choreographed performance by the dancers representing the instruments was fascinating……

Ghungroo...the dance of the notes!

Similarly the ‘Ghungroo’ piece had six dancers, each representing six notes out of the musical octave…. Imagine a whole piece with sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dh, ni… and the whole of the piece is full of ghamakas and composites and the dancers individually and in combination dance as the musical piece gets played.. Wonderful rendition and more importantly brilliantly thought…

Anamya..story of the steel

The last piece was an evocative one – steel is used in making a sword as well as a bell in a temple. The composition captures the trials and tribulations of the sword and its yearning to be a bell in the temple….

Naada and Ghungroo certainly captured my imagination….and have given a lot of fodder for me to think. It was compellingly lateral in thinking… Wah Maharaj Wah !!

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