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Inspired by the Rajah Ravi Varma’s paintings

By Mohanapriyan Thavarajah

Chithra Bharatham was a three day festival, inspired by the paintings of various artistes and curated by Natyarangam, Chennai. Rajah Ravi Varma was one of such featured Artiste and his paintings were interpreted through dance by Danseuse Lavanya Anand. It was an indeed a memorable evening to cherish. Ravi Varma is an inspirational artiste who inspired Lavanya to become a gentle translation of his beautiful paintings through her beautiful choices of compositions, apt choreography and stellar execution of dance.

Excerpts of verses from Soundarya Lahiri written by Adishangaracharya, Dancer Lavanya gently rises on the stage from the darkness as an emerging spark portraying Devi who illuminates the and saves the world out of compassion Karunya. This set the beautiful mood on the stage for her audience in the opening number.

As she moved on to deliver a master piece Varnam she portrayed the abandonment of Sita and who subsequently unites with Mother Earth. She set the crescendo on this Varnam developing the persona of Sita with such as patience, tolerance and loyalty to her beloved Rama. The Varnam reached the climax in the enactment of the famous Ravi Varma’s painting where Boomi Devi extends her arms to Sita in an attempt to stop her worldly desires and tolerance. Lavanya made her audience sit still with excitement while a few behind me spoke aloud in sheer astonishment, “Oh my God!”

After the roller coaster of the emotions in the varnam Lavanya took her audience on a journey to experience the Vathsalyam of Yasodha. Excerpts of verses from Periyazhvar pasuram and set to the music by ambujam Krishna, she brought the vivid colours of the rich Tamil poetry and the subtle Motherly affection for the adorable mischievous, Krishna through her Abhinaya.

The highlight of the repertoire of that evening was the exaggeration of the painting of heroine Shankunthala from a well known story of Nala Dhamayanthi. Lavanya chose the song of “Priyathamaa” from Shakundala a Malayalam Movie and literally brought Dhamayathi come alive on stage with her love for Dhushyanta.

She marked the end of her repertoire with a thillana set to raga Behac combined with the verses from Geetha Govindam to describe the Leelas of Krishna. That evening was completely for Lavanya as she had driven her self deeper to analyse and understand the aura of the great artiste Rajah Ravi Varma. She also attempted to bring out the key ideas of the painting through her custom made jewelleries and costumes inspired by the illustration of the paintings. The overall performance was incredibly successful with the team work of resource persons, musicians and technicians who held her hand providing valuable support towards this production.

Dance is never completed with out Music. The vocals with so much emotions rendered by the amazing Hari Prasad, the sensible rhythms on the drums by Vetha Krishnan, the excited yet excellent Jeyshree on Nattuvangam, Shasidar on the melodies flute blended seamlessly to create an absolute beautiful atmosphere for the Dancer and the dancings souls among the audiences.

Lavanya Anand is a brilliant and sensible artiste in today’s INDIAN Classical dance arena, who carries the artistry of her distinct Valluvur style of Bharatanatam which is much known for its grace and fluidity. She has travelled wider for her performances locally in India and globally. She will be performing her thematic solo “SANNIDHI” - The Communion with Divine with her team of talented Musicians from Chennai at the Esplanade Theater Studio on the 31st August, Friday as a curtain raiser for the much awaited Dance India Asia Pacific Festival presented by Apsaras Arts Singapore.

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