ONLINE: Rudra Shankar Mishra shows speed and vigour in Vidha Lal’s Sankalp ep. 2

Rudra Shankar Mishra (stock pic courtesy Facebook)

In the second performance of her online performance series for young dancers, Sankalp, Kathak exponent Vidha Lal presented Rudra Shankar Mishra, the disciple of eminent Kathak exponents ‘Priya Bandhu’ - Ravi Shankar Mishra and Mata Prasad Mishra of the Benares gharana, his uncle and father. This performance was broadcast on August 9 and was introduced by Rudra’s gurus. I am writing my reports/impressions of the Sankalp performances at Vidha’s invitation.
Rudra was born with dance in his blood and the talent showed itself in the cradle. He started learning Kathak at the early age of 2. He has shared the stage with his gurus many times. He has completed his Master’s in Kathak from the BHU.
The first piece he presented was a Shiv stutikavit and Shiv vandana, ‘Jai shiv shankar’. His rendition showed chandra mauli and damru with various hand gestures and a very graceful sheesh Ganga stance. The rendition depicted the dhoop-deep-tilak of the lord with exemplary footwork and hastas showingdamru to the chants of Om Namah Shivaye.
For the nritta, he presented tayyari in vilambit taal, presenting tukde, tihai and uthaan. He first presented a chakkardar tukda (tez aamad) and footwork that mimicked the sound of a galloping horse. Next, he did some parans in drut laya where he exhibited his expertise in chakkars, gat and thaat. The  chakkars had all the energy and agility that is expected of a young Kathak dancer. With time, speed has become expected of a great Kathak dancer, and if that is so today, he did very well by those standards. He actually mastered his speed and ang shuddhi as well, completely finishing all movements of hands and feet. Before this, a performance I had seen that was similarly memorable for its speed was that of Vidyagauri Adkar.
The last bandish he presented was sung by Pts. Rajan and Sajan Mishra, ‘Chalo man Vrindavan ki or’. An appropriate choice, keeping in mind the pace of the dance. The bhava showed the gopi listening to the flute and looking for Krishna and the surrender of the bhakta to bhagwan. In the end, the bhava depicted a gopi who looks upon her beloved.
I just wish that Rudra’s bhava was more clearly visible – in this recital, his hair often obscured his face, making his expressions hard to see. However, it was a well-balanced performance, with Rudra upholding his reputation for fast-paced, dynamic dance. He is already establishing his position as a successful soloist.
For this performance, Rudra was accompanied by Uday Shankar Mishra on tabla, Santosh Mishra on vocal and harmonium, Neeraj Mishra on sitar and Anish Mishra on sarangi.


Rudra Shankar performing on 9 August (screengrab)