ONLINE: Vrinda Chadha performs lyrical Odissi in digital baithak

Vrinda performing on 11 July 2020 (screen grab)

Young Odissi dancer Vrinda Chadha, a senior disciple of Guru Ranjana Gauhar, performed for the SaMaPa Digital Baithak on 11 July. I recorded and sent my impressions of Vrinda’s performance on the invitation of the organizers – this is the edited script of the video report.
It was a pleasure to see Sadhna Shrivastav back, presenting a performance after a long time.
I have watched Vrinda on stage a few times over the years and have found her to have a very pleasing stage presence. For the SaMaPa baithak, the first piece she presented was ‘Ardhanarishwara’ by Mahakavi Kalidasa and Guru Adishankaracharya in ragamallika and talamallika. It’s an oft-visited theme, and when you are performing a piece that is a very common choice, the challenge is to make it stand out. Vrinda was able to do that very well. She had to present the duality of energies, lasya and tandava of Vishwanath and Vishweshwari, which she did successfully through her abhinaya, bringing out the attributes of each: gaura shareer, kumkum charchit, noopur kinkini, mandar mala and pitambar of Goddess Parvati and damru, nag, karpoor gaur, jata, body smeared with ash, bhujang wrapped around his body, trinetra, kapal mala and digambar of Shiva. All the attributes were brought out with the mukhabhinaya, including the eyes, the facial expressions and the gestures. All throughout the composition, Vrinda wove a very captivating web with her nritta, her balancing stances, leg lifts and her very graceful tribhanga.

Vrinda performing on 11 July 2020 (screen grab)

The second piece that she presented was a Jayadeva ashtapadi, ‘Lalita lavanga’ from Geetagovindam, in rag Basant, taal jhampa and ektaali. Jayadeva ji’s ashtapadis have a very rich vocabulary and lyricism, and Vrinda did justice to the ashtapadi through her very lyrical dance. This was a choreography by Guru Mayadhar Raut. The ambience of basant was created by depicting flowers, hovering bees, the gentle breeze, the birds, the lata beli entwined around trees and Madana, the god of love, shooting his arrows at Radha and Krishna, who are engaged in vihar in the nikunj in Vrindavan. The gestures of splashing water at each other and playing Holi suited the mood of the piece, and Vrinda’s very gently sensuous expressions and graceful tribhanga simply enhanced the mood of the piece.
Finally, she presented a pallavi in rag Saveri, taal ektali and triputa. As we know, the pallavi is a pure dance piece in Odissi, where the dance literally blossoms. Vrinda’s movements, beginning from her neck and eyes, down to her shoulders, waist, hands and feet, were all in tandem and executed in a very graceful manner with very expansive movements, all within the space that was available to her. Her footwork came out very neat and the ease of her hand movement was very impressive. You can watch the performance here:
In all the performances I have seen, Vrinda has come across as a very hardworking and dedicated young dancer with a very gentle style. Her prowess is evident in this performance too, though the platforms is relatively new. The promise of her going to greater heights is already there.
File photo of Vrinda (pic: Anoop Arora)


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