With Diwali just around the corner, it is only fitting at this time of the year to relive the mythology from where the festival takes its genesis. This Saturday, a group of Bharatanatyam dancers will reprise a few acts from the Ramayana as part of a novel recital. The performance, led by Padma Bhushan recipient dancer-couple, VP and Shanta Dhananjayan, will be based on a traditional style of musical drama called Raamanaatakam.
“We adapted this genre in our dance and started performing it since 1974. Back in the day, people used to associate Raamanaatakam with elaborate costumes and make-up, but we have brought in a new concept where the focus is on angika abinaya (body movements and facial expressions), more than anything else,” says VP Dhananjayan. The couple, along with a team of 15 professional dancers from their academy, will showcase five pivotal scenes from the epic.
“We will celebrate Sita swayamvara and the Manthra-Kaikeyi-Dasaratha scene, where Kaikeyi stops Rama’s coronation. This will be a 25-minute long act. Then, the other episodes such as the Jatayu scene and the Setubandhanam (building of the bridge to Sri Lanka) scene will follow,” says Shanta Dhananjayan.
Interestingly, the 90 minute-recital will not feature any props and all the dancers will don similar costumes despite them representing different characters from the epic. The performance will conclude with the celebration of lord Rama’s coronation ceremony, after he returns to Ayodhya.
Catch the performance on November 10 at Experimental Theatre, NCPA, 6 pm onwards. Tickets are priced at Rs 180 and Rs 270 (for members) and Rs 200 and Rs 300 (for others). Call 2282 4567