Ananya is an annual dance festival held at the Old Fort in the capital every year. It is organised by the department of Art, Culture and Languages, Government of Delhi, and Seher. It is a commendable effort to bring different Indian classical dance forms to the audience in Delhi.
Purana Quila is an amazing site for a cultural evening. The weather is pleasant, the lawns are lush green, with nature at its best. A hundred diyas flicker at the entrance to the venue. The lighting of the arches of the fort is done in such a beautiful manner that the play of light and shadow takes your breath away. It is a dialogue between the dance and the heritage monument, a link between earthly and divine.
On 1st October, 2011, Aruna Mohanty and the Orissa Dance Academy (Bhubaneshwar) presented Odissi dance. Aruna is a senior disciple of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. She has also received training from Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. An accomplished soloist, she has a fine grasp of dance technique, and maturity in abhinaya.
The performance was called ‘Gatha Odissi’. It traced the various forms of Odissi and their evolution into their present form .Very befitting that the heritage of a dance be revisited at a heritage site
The Odissi dance was originally performed at the Jagannath temple by the devdasis. This form of dance is called Mahiri. The dancers performed a Vandana of Lord Jagannath called the Manglacharan in the Gotipua form. The dance was done by the boys dressed as girls and the actions involved acrobatics. It was as if the sculptures of dancers on the walls of various temples of Orissa had come alive. The best part of this piece was the acrobatics and handstands done by little girls. They made various formations.
The next form of Odissi is the Sakhinatak or Abhinaya, which was performed to the compositions of Jaidev and other poets. The dancers performed the four stages of Krishna’s life – the child Krishna, the adolescent Krishna who did raas with the gopis, Goverdhandhari Krishna who saved Vraj from the anger of Indra, and lastly the saddened Krishna who is separated from his beloved Radha.
Lastly, the form of dance that was visited was Nritya nataka, which invokes the various rasas. Instances were depicted from the life of Lord Rama, Shringar rasa from the playfulness of Lord Ram and Sita, Hasya Rasa from the episode of nose-cutting of Surpanakha, Raudra rasa from the Sitaharan and finally, Shanta rasa that Rama embodies.
The entire performance was excellently choreographed and performed. The three bhangimas of the dance, the movements of the torso, palms and feet was beautifully executed. All the dancers showed a lot of poise and grace and the performance culminated in a mesmerising experience.