Vanashree Rao presents Rasa United’s new production, Trayambakam

Rasa United is coming up with a new dance-theatre production, which they are premiering in Delhi on 26 November. Rasa United is a dance troupe that brings Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and Chhau together to present dramatic group productions on an expansive scale. It is spearheaded by Kuchipudi guru Vanashree Rao, who conceptualizes and directs the productions, and includes Dr. S. Vasudevan performing Bharatnatyam and Kuleswar Kumar Thakur and company for Chhau.

A still from Trayambakam

Their new production is called Trayambakam. Explaining what it’s going to be about, Vanashree ji says, “I am doing a new production titled Trayambakam. This is about the three facets of Shiva. The first is aghori. He is totally detached. He lives in the shamshan like a Naga sadhu. The forms of dance used for this are Kuchipudi and Chhau.

“The second is ardhanareeshwara. What we usually see is people depicting ardhanareesh. This is usually descriptive, showing how the two look. Even guruji (Guru Jayarama Rao, her guru and husband) and I have done ardhnareeshwara in the same way. But this is different – Shiva is dancing in Chhau and Parvati in Kuchipudi. The transformation is from the aghori to the procreator. As a procreator, he is in the sphere of the domestic with Parvati or Shakti. These two forces are always there in the universe. Shiva is the destroyer of Tripurasura, of King Daksha, he is the neelkantha, and all these forms are described by Parvati herself. On the other hand, Parvati is ashtabhuji Durga, she is the shumbh nishumbha vinashini. And at the end of everything, they have to come back home to their family.

“The next composition is how Shiva protects his devotee. It is the story of Kirat Arjuna. Arjuna performs a tapasya to get the pashupati astra from Shiva. Shiva wants to test his ability and comes in disguise to test him. The two fight and when Shiva is satisfied about Arjuna’s ability, he comes into his own form and embraces Arjuna, blessing him with the weapon. This is the theme of Trayambakam. And then the story progresses from the heavenly to the earthly, where Duhshasan vadh is mimed in dance. Then we end with a composition on the dwadash jyotirlingam.”

The production is supported by Sanjiv Kumar of Takshila Education Society and Paramita Mahapatra (MD, UMSL). The concept, script and direction are by Vanashree ji, and the dancers are Dr. S. Vasudevan, Kuleshwar Kumar Thakur, Arjun Dev Malik, Prashant Kalia, Moutushi Majumdar, Ayana Mukherji and Shefali Bharati. Music composition is by K. Venkateswaran and Dr. S. Vasudevan; mridangam, ghatam, tavil, pakhawaj, eddekka and morsingh by R. Kesavan; voiceover and nattuvangam by Dr. S. Vasudevan; violin by Raghavendra Prasath, flute by Rajat Prasanna; special effects by Monty; sound by Prashant Chaudhary (Neelam Digital Recording Studios), make-up by Naresh Khare and lights by Sharad Kulshreshtha. Dr. Sonal Mansingh will be the chief guest and the programme will be compered by Mridu Tripathy.

Vanashree Rao (in red) in Dramatic Tales

Date, timings and venue here at Kala Pravaah. Rasa United productions are colourful, vibrant and quite dramatic, so whether or not you watch classical dance, you’re sure to enjoy it. Please do attend!
Some reviews of previous productions here – Abhimanyu Vadh and Dramatic Tales.