|(Top) Manipuri dancer Bimbavati Devi (centre) performs Krishna leela.
(below) Dona Ganguly and her troupe ‘Diksha Manjari’ renders Tagore’s dance drama Chitrangada on the fourth day of the the Konark Dance Festival.
Pictures by Sanjib Mukherjee
Konark, Dec. 5: The fourth day of the Konark dance festival opened the stage for budding artistes. The dancers presented Manipuri depicting Krishna leela and an Odissi dance drama on Rabindranath Tagore’s celebrated work Chitrangada.
Bimbavati Devi — a young Manipuri dancer and daughter of veteran dancers Guru Bipin Singh and Kalavati Devi — presented the first recital on Saturday. Trained in playing the Manipuri Mridangam Pung and martial art form Thang Ta, the dancer, along with her troupe, presented a number of compositions revolving around Lord Krishna. Bimbavati herself played the role of Krishna in the rendition.
In the first piece Vasanta Raas, the troupe showcased the love of the gopis for the Lord. In the traditional attires for Manipuri dance, veiled danseuses performed with regular rotations and light feet movements.
Although Bimabavati lacked facial articulation in the first piece, the last composition, Goshti Kreeda, which depicted various games played by Lord Krishna, Balram and their friends, impressed the audience.
Bimbavati also performed a solo on Mridu Uddhvat, a Krishna tandava, choreographed and musically composed by Guru Bipin Singh. Vasanta Prabandha and Krishna Nartanam were other recitals by the troupe.
The Konark dance festival, which has a legacy of staging the most prominent dancers of various Indian classical dance forms, received mixed reactions from the audience this year.
“The dancers showcased brilliant technical expertise but seemed to be low on abhinaya and bhava,” said a dance connoisseur, Anurima, from USA.
The next performance, however, seemed to disappoint the audience who were expecting a dynamic Odissi recital. Cricketer Sourav Ganguly’s wife Dona Ganguly and troupe performed Tagore’s Chitrangada. But starting from costumes, music to choreography, elements of Odissi were clearly missing from the dance drama. The use of props and dull movements left the audience disappointed.
“Had the piece been performed on Rabindra Sangeet and Rabindra Nritya, it would have appealed more. We could also have enjoyed the performance with the same theme if it was converted to Odissi lyrics and music and pure Odissi dance,” said a dance lover Jagajit Sahoo from Bhuba neswar.
Danseuse Baisakhi who enacted Chitrangada, was the most promising artiste. The dance drama dealt with the mythological tale of Prince Arjun and Manipuri warrior queen Chitrangada.