Puneet and Taniya Panda's "Atmarpanam" dance show - Distinct and Sophisticated Artistry in Bharatanatyam Style
- A report from Vinatha Kumar
Dr. Puneet Panda and Taniya Panda performed a Bharatanatyam dance recital under the auspices of The Jayamangala School of Dance Laurel, Md ( Director Ms. Shobha Subramanian ) last Sunday. 06-21-2015 at Jewish Community Center, , Rockville Md . It was a rare audio and visual treat for all rasikas as the artists ( Musicians and the Dancing Couple ) belonging to the younger generation performed with great energy and keen enthusiasm.
Puneet and Tania commenced the evening's dance recital with an Invocatory piece on Lord Nataraja.
Puneet's portrayal of the King of Dance ,Nataraja in Chidambaram as well as the annihilator of demon Jalandara , was impressive with the Tandava element pre dominating . Puneet's strong arm movements and intense footwork and his majestic stage presence set the tone for this dance .
Taniya's lithe and lissome figure with her sparkling doe like eyes and alluring gait as she danced in unison added a special glow to this dance . In this presentation, the couple conducted a Divine Dialogue through dance , never stepping on each other's toes - maintaining an acceptable spatial distance on stage. Also , every time Puneet matted his hair with Ganga flowing from his matted locks and Tania sitting on stage to catch the gushing water in her hands , it gave me goosebumps - such a strong narrative of Bhagiratha Prayatanam, done effortlessly and convincingly .
A simple alarippu which was skillfully woven into the dance by ace choreographer Shiijith Nambiar became a Work of art in the hands of these two seasoned dancers. . Puneet and Tania took turns to do the jathis and adavus sometimes diagonally , sometimes in a linear fashion and at other times in circular pattern . Geometry never looked this interesting .
Clean lines and picturesque postures and perfect diamond shaped araimandis - highlighted the Alarippu.. Although the couple performed the same advaus and jathis in the alaruippu sequence , it was remarkable how each one maintained their identity - Puneet was Majestic with his towering stage presence while Taniya was graceful and endearing with her petite and sweet persona.
Sarasa Sundara - Padavarnam:
Next , the couple performed an elaborate Padavarnam, a composition of Swati Tirunal in raagam Nilambari " ‘Sarasara Sundara’" - The couple performed an energetic jati full of fine nuances . The couple then proceeded to the Shrine of Padmanabhaswamy where they are wonderstruck at the reclining gigantic image of the Lord visible through three doors . This was Taniya's moment to shine - as a nayika longing for union with her chosen deity on a moonlit night .Taniya's aarthi to the lord commencing with weaving of garland , grinding the sandalwood paste and then bathing the idol etc was done with great devotional fervor with her body, mind and soul .
In the background was Puneet, standing at a distance feeling l the vibrations of Taniya's abhisekham, , so much so that when Taniya bathed the idol , Puneet was shivering and was seen drying the water on his head, beard and body . In the next scene when Taniya slips into a dream state , Puneet gently lifts her and gudies her to the center of the stage to show her the Reality - very aesthetically done .
The best interpretation was the narrative of the Draupadi Cheera haranam where Puneet excelled as Dushasana with that evil and coveteous expression in his eyes equally matched with intense and passionate body movements where he dragged Draupadi all around the floor in circles . Tania on her part was excellent in her abhinayam as the chaste Draupadi , helplessly pleading with Lord Krshna to come to her rescue . Taniya's every limb spoke of a woman willfully wronged and humiliated . A beautiful narrative and interpretation of this devotional kriti and a choreographic marvel by Shiijith and Parvathy . In this dance item, the couple showed their virtuoso in both nritta and natya .
This was followed by a solo item by Taniya- " Magudochi" in Sahana , composed by Kshetrayya and choreographed by Tania's Guru Anuradha Jagannathan . Taniya's portrayal as Nayika leaving her beloved Krishna to join her husband was sensitive and full of viraha bhava - one of intense longing and yearning . Taniya's strong point is her Nayanabhinyam and angabhinayam where her eyes speak volumes and her every limb moves .
The next item, Bhajamana Raama in raagamalika composed by Tulsidas and choreographed by Shri Dhananjayan and performed by Puneet was my favorite . In this solo item , Puneet stole the show with his mastery over all aspects of Bharatanatyam specially the Natya . Puneet 's rowing the boat around the stage as Guha was marvelous , reminding us that even Lord Rama needs a devotee to cross the ocean of Samsara. Puneet excels in bhakti rasa and his sattwika ahinayam is brilliant . At the end of the dance , Puneet's devotional surrender to Lord Rama brought memories of Dhananjayan Sir's " VaurgalAmo ayya. " - so realistic and memorable .
The evening concluded with Thillana in Raagam Varamu , composed by Jayanthi Kumaresh and choreographed by the couple themselves . Once again, the couples' on stage Chemistry was magical as they danced together in total sync and harmony and always in tune with each other . These lines from Jnanadev's Amritanubhava comes to mind - Two lutes: one note. Two flowers: one fragrance. Two lamps: one light.
And then the Live Orchestra of young and energetic artists - Rajna Swaminathan- Brilliant on the Mridangam with her mastery over Taalam and Melam and her equally gifted sister Anjna Swaminathan at her melodious best on the violin . Roopa Mahadevan at the vocals - absolutely mesmerizing with her bhava filled rendition of all songs specially when she cried out for Shri Padmanabha in high octaves , it was a " wow" moment for me . And then Our Kasi Aysola on the nattuvangam - how versatile can this guy be? From make up to dancing to nattuvangam , an artist to the fingertips. Thanks to Aishwarya Swaminathan for helping with the Lights , subtle and soft shades
Kudos to Jayamangala for hosting this show and encouraging all the younger artists and providing a platform for them to show their artistry .
puneet panda, taniya panda, bharatanatyam, shijith nambiar, (C), atmarpanam, june2015, vinatha kumar, contributor, papers, jewish community center, MD, do not copy, copyrights acknowledged,