Samanvita glides through historic dance performance

Tabla virtuoso, Guru Naren Budhkar giving excellent support

Tabla virtuoso, Guru Naren Budhkar giving excellent support

ST LOUIS: A Midwest city, St Louis had a beautiful Kathak (a classical Indian form of dance) performance on Saturday, July 9. by a 14 year old Samanvita Kasthuri, a student of Parkway School district with live music in the state of Missouri.

Born into a family of dancers, musicians, authors and Yoga practitioners, dance and music have come easily to the talented young artist who gave her first dance recital at age four. Her long dedication came to fruition last Saturday when she danced brilliantly with extreme grace, alacrity and ease during Rang Pravesh.

Trained by her father and Guru Prasanna Kasthuri for the last ten years, she began her Rang Pravesh recital with a Rang Pooja, a salutation to the stage and to the deities of dance. In the opening dance number itself, Samanvita seemed completely in control of her extremely movements, exemplary rhythms and understated expressions,

She continued with a couple of small dance numbers praising the god of dancing, Shiva in the form of Nataraja in “Pashunam Pathi and Nataraja Kshitiraja”. The songs described the beauty of celestial dancing of “Nataraja”, the creator of dance. Samanvita was extremely tranquil with the next lyrical, ‘Tenavina’ a poem by Indian National poet – Kuvempu, from Mysore. The superb dance choreography of Guru Prasanna unfurled as she delicately performed the message of oneness with God and nature.

A pure technical number “ShuddhNritya” followed next proving The dancer and the tabla virtuoso – Guru Naren Budhkar – exchanged complicated rhythmic patterns on the tabla and footwork. The complex rhythmic patterns in three and four speeds in combinations of dadra (6 beats), Teen taal (16 beats) and Dhamaar (14 beats) proved the brilliance of this art form and the mastery of the young dancer. This dance number showed the taalim (practice) she endured during her preparation time.

Samanvita also proved that she had an exceptional flair for enacting a crucial part of Kathak, facial expressions, in the next two lyricals, a bhajan – JhoolathaRadha sang Giridhari and thumri – ChedonaNandkesunahu. Both songs were based on the popular Hindu god Krishna.

Story telling was highlighted in the next dance drama, ‘Parvathi Kalyan’. The story of how Parvati was reborn and she wins Shiva’s love was beautifully depicted. Huge stage settings added to the dramatic effect of the dance drama.

The recital ended with a traditional taraana, a beautiful combination of musical melodies and rhythmic phrases. The dance that began with a slow tempo gradually increased speed and ended with a sawaal-jawab(Question-Answer) and a grand tatkar-tihai.?
Samanvita was ably assisted by an erudite group of musicians. Senior tabla player, Pandit Naren Budhkar excelled with his brilliant technique.

Sitar player Indro Roy Chowdhary music interludes and clever following added color to the evening. Vocals by Divya Khandekar, Dyuthi Kharod and Guru Prasanna Kasthuri himself, Harmonium by Vikas Falnikar and flute by Chethan Anant exemplified the divine experience of the dance debut.?

The exceptional mega stage banners set an excellent backdrop for all the repertoires, be it the sacred Kailasa Parvatha where Lord Shiva resides according to Hindu belief, or the beautiful Brindavana gardens that once occupied all over India or the Indo-Persian architectural that depicts the amalgamation of two architectures. Added to this were the elegant lobby and stage decorations.

Dance performancelasted 180 minutes was attended by more than 400 art lovers; many dance gurus such as Guru Smitha Rajan, Guru Shailaja Akula, Guru Sushma Mohan (Los Angeles, CA), Guru Pulikeshi Kasthuri (Bangalore, India), Guru Vidya Anand graced the event and blessed the new dancing star.

Anitha Nagendra