Awakening of the Soul
4/9/2012, Sohini Saha
“Nrittero taley taley, Nataraj, ghuchao shokol bondho hey, shupti bhangao chitte jagao mukto shurer chondo hey”
In Tagore’s words, ‘Oh lord Nataraja, the lord of dance, with the beats of your energetic dance moves, wipe away all meager thoughts from our mind, remove all dormancy from our body, and awaken our soul to the heartfelt divine melody.’
For centuries, Indian classical dance has been known to connect our souls to the divine. And this was what we all were reminded of on Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at Triveni Ensemble’s fund raising concert “Awakening of the Soul” at Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
The amalgamation of three Indian Classical dance forms, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi, in the true sense of the name “Triveni”, intertwined beautifully with the inspiring music of renowned Indian maestros made the evening an unforgettable one.
For more than three decades, Neena Gulati, the founder member and Guru of The Triveni Dance Ensemble has been instrumental in creating hundreds of fabulous dancers and has contributed to the society not only by keeping the Indian classical tradition alive in this farland, but also by helping organizations like Kerry Jon Walker fund, Saheli, Child Relief & and many more through such fund raisers each year.
The show started with Ganapati Vandana, where the dancers invoked the blessings of Lord Ganesha, followed by Ras Shabdham, depicting the divine love of Radha and Krishna. Each dance kept its original essence intact, yet blossoming into fresh emotive gestures, giving it a renewed look. The fluid movements, the graceful postures and electrifying rhythm kept the awestruck audience glued to their seats. Some of the parents of Neena’s students, who were present at the show, later said, “I adored the costumes, the theme of awakening of the soul was wonderful.” - said Michelle Papazia . “We all enjoyed and cherished every moment of it and were in awe of the wonderful agility and grace of all the dancers. The music for all the dances was just so beautiful” – said Chetna Naimi. Catherine Walker, one of Neena’s friends and a former student complemented her by saying, “the theatre was made for you, with the seats around the stage like that, it was a so wonderful.”
The most interesting part of the show was not only witnessing the three dance forms performed separately on the same platform, in its purest forms, but also the attempt to experiment and creatively combine all the three forms together. In a fusion with contemporary music composed by the Tabla maestro, Shri Bikram Ghosh, all the three dance forms seamlessly blended together with intricate footwork, flowing movements and complex emotions of the talented danseuses. The creatively designed costumes added to the contemporary look and feel of the piece. The show also included beautifully choreographed movements aptly justifying Carnatic Vocal Maestro Sri Balamurali Krishnan’s lively rendition of Tillana. In the final piece, the dancers sought salvation through their Guru, who symbolizes the culmination of the three gods of the heavens: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, invoked by the sloka “Guru Brahma…”, as the blending of Indian and African rhythms transcended all cultural silos.
The memorable evening, left a global audience mesmerized and many souls awakened with the feeling of oneness with the creator and with each other.