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Classical dance forms Kathak and Odeissi mingle in ‘Kumar Sambhav’

Classical dance forms Kathak and Odeissi mingle in ‘Kumar Sambhav’
September 05
14:27 2019

India Post News Service

Shiv penance and dance

Shiv penance and dance

CHICAGO: “Kumar Sambhav”, a spectacular dance drama penned by the legendary poet and dramatist Kalidas was recently staged in Kathak and Odissi dance styles at the Pfeiffer Hall, Naperville, a southwest suburb of Chicago

It was a unique experience for the Chicagoland Indian community when two classical Indian dance forms – Odissi and Kathak- came together as a musical extravaganza depicting Kalidas’s “Kumar Sambhavam”. A packed audience enjoyed this performance at Pfeiffer Hall hosted by the dual tutelage of accomplished Kathak Guru Kiran Chauhan, founder and artistic director of I-RADHA (Indian Rhythms Arts & Dances Heritage Academy), and Guru Ipsita Mahapatra Satpathy, founder and artistic director of Utkalaa Center for Odissi Dance.

An ensemble included more than 50 dancers and performers. The two-hour-long rendition of the mythical tale depicted the penance of Parvati, the union of Shiva and Parvati, the birth of Kumara (Kartikeya) and the death of Tarakasur. As Sutradhar of the dance drama, Guru Ipshita Mahapatra introduced the musical and later appeared at transitions to suggest the movement of the plot and time to the audience.

Sachin Lal and Guru Kiran Chouhan essayed the central roles of Shiva and Parvati treating the audiences to beautiful Kathak choreography and emotive acting. Colin Mascarenhas and Guru Ipsita Mahapatra performed as Kamdev and Rati presenting their mutual love and desperation through expressive Odissi dance and movement.

Dambaru Jena as demon king Tarakasur did justice to his character.   Sandeep Soni playing the part of Lord Indra was aptly supported by Rengesh Hariharan as Agni, and Kiran Thali, Aditya Chaudhary and Vineet Kapoor as other Gods.  Narad Rout successfully portrayed the role of the go-between Narad.  Kamal Gupta performed the roles of Brahaspati and Himraj and Ulka Nagarkar played the part of Rani Menawati, mother of Parvati.

Kiran, Saisree, Swati, Rasmi, Kalyan and Lilamaya as dancers and supporting cast were excellent in their performances. Utkalaa’s artists gave some stellar performances of Odissi. A senior disciple of Chouhan and one of the teachers in I-RADHA Medha Bhargaw who was one of the main dancers also took care of all the arrangements and rehearsals.

I-RADHA students gave stellar Kathak performances. I-RADHA’s young students also displayed their Kathak skills performing the Ganesh Panchratnam and essaying the roles of young Kartikeya and friends. The beautiful and mesmerizing music was composed by the legendary Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj and renowned Odissi Guru Bijoy Jena. The music arrangement was done by Jitendra Singh.

 The impressive sets which transported the audience into the Himalayas were designed and created by  Raju Deshmukh. Light design by Sushant Satpathy, Nidhi Sharma and Adya Verma added greatly to the magic unfolding before the eyes of the audience. The tasteful and authentic costumes, jewelry and props designed by Guru Kiran Chouhan and Guru Ipsita Mahapatra were provided by Aarti International.

Through the entire journey, the two remarkable dance forms complimented each other blending seamlessly as the story travelled from one troop to the other effortlessly; music and motion of bodies flowed with absolute concurrence; emotions of love, anger, pride and jubilation matched perfectly with the moods the composition intended to evoke. The choreography was outstanding.

The still backdrop of a majestic Mount Kailash blended beautifully with the rugged mountain sets, to create the illusory arena of a cosmic drama.

The collaboration brought together two different Indian classical dance forms and showed them as a confluence of India’s great heritage. Guru Kiran Chouhan had trained under Padma Vibhushan recipient Pandit Birju Maharaj, and has performed widely all around the world as choreographer and teacher. Guru Ipsita Mahapatra, a disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, is the recipient of master artist award from Illinois Art Council.

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