Dance without boundaries

It was befitting that World Dance Day was celebrated with a unique dance experience where 75 dancers from different genres came together on stage and called it No Boundaries. On April 29, 2012, Sadhya, a unit of performing arts in association with NSD, staged a dance performance at the Abhimanch auditorium. The artistic director of the show, Santosh Nair, has been introduced in this blog. The excellence of his work and his dedication was apparent from the success of the show.
The performance began at the lawns of NSD with dancers doing yogic exercise on pedestals. The balancing acts, headstands and the complexity of the exercises were amazing. This was followed by a short contemporary piece. Then the audience was moved to the auditorium.
The indoor performance began with a confluence of all the dance forms, where a dancer from each genre was present on the stage. The first group to perform was the Natya Nectar, which did the aerial and acro-yoga. Their artistic director is Goura Prema and this piece was called Jiva Jago, meaning Wake Up Sleeping Souls. The yogic acrobatics were done with a lot of grace and dexterity, and Goura Prema did an excellent job with the aerial yoga. She did acrobatics on a red cloth hung from the ceiling.
The next piece was a contemporary one by the Astad Deboo dance company. Astad Deboo has been mentoring young performers from the Salaam Balak Trust. They danced to a choreographed piece called Breaking Boundaries which deals with stillness, space and rasas. The poise and coordination of the dancers was spellbinding; the entire piece was in slow, controlled, coordinated movements.
Next up was a performance by the disciples of Guru Bharati Shivaji in Mohiniattam. The piece was called Pandattam was about a ball game drawing parallels between life and the movements of a ball. It was a lively and playful piece, with the dancers doing varied movements symbolizing the ball game.
Tushar Kalia and his group from Sadhya came next. The dance draws from the elements of Mayurbhanj, chhau and contemporary dance. The piece for the evening was based on echoes, which explores movement and space using time delay. The dancers dressed in white costumes did a wonderful job of representing the theme in contemporary style with excellent music. There was a lot of ease and flow in the movements though they were difficult.
Madhavi Mudgal’s disciples were the next to perform, and they did the Odissi. It was a pure dance piece called ‘pallavi’. Odissi has a lot of rhythm and grace in it. The dancers performed with a lot of poise. Next on the stage were puppets from the ‘Ishara Puppet Theatre’ by Dadi Pudumjee. The puppets were held by the puppeteers above the waist. The piece showed excerpts from ‘Transposition’. Later the dancers joined them. It was a romantic interlude between a couple which was beautifully executed.
Next to perform were Shashank Dogra and Hari Narayan. They danced with panache and Hari was applauded for his jumps, cartwheels and acrobatics. Shovana Narayan’s group of dancers was the next to perform. Their ‘kathak ‘piece was a ‘Shiv Stuti – Om’, describing Lord Shiva in his ‘tandava’ element and invoking His blessings. They depicted the ‘Ganga’ and ‘Ardha chandrama’ on his head and his third eye. It was befitting that the lord of dance was worshipped on this day. This was followed by the disciples of Saroja Vaidyanathan. The Pushpanjali, in Bharatnatyam paid obeisance to Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. The music and the pace of the performance was amazing. And then there was a jugalbandi of Bharatnatyam and Kathak with fast beats and very sharp movements by both the groups. The contemporary dance piece which followed was done by the Big Dance Centre. The piece ‘Heavy In Your Arms ‘ was intense foot-tapping music and amazing intricate moves with interesting costumes .

And finally, all the dancers came on the stage and to heart-thumping music, they presented a mélange of all the dance forms blending their styles. As Santosh Nair later said, and as the title suggests, all boundaries had melted - that of traditional and contemporary, life and puppets, styles and genres.