Sunday, September 25, 2022 | Safar 28, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

A fusion of colours and music

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What better way can someone find to keep oneself enthralled during the Covid-19 days other than listening to some soul-rendering music and watching some classic movements of traditional dance forms?


One such venue was the lawns of the Indian Embassy and, the occasion? The Republic Day of the country where some scintillating performances of dancers were staged as part of the celebrations under Covid protocols gave the audience not just some patriotic zeal and fervour but an occasion to rejoice and enjoy some of the brilliant performances of a fusion of the national dance forms. It was an evening packed with a repertoire of riveting classical dance performances showcasing the cultural diversity of India which enthralled the audience from different ethnic origins.


Those in attendance cherishing the glimpses of true Indian culture and tradition were Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim al Mahrouqiyah, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, as Chief Guest, Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali al Harthy, Under-Secretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Foreign Ministry, and members of State Council and Majlis Ash’shura, chairperson and members of the Oman-India Friendship Association, other senior government officials, ambassadors resident in Muscat as well as distinguished members of Omani and Indian communities, media and other key people who were hosted by Amit Narang, Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate.


Adding cream to the cake, there were two exhibits showcasing the rich shared past of India and the Sultanate of Oman which were jointly unveiled during the event by the chief guest and the ambassador. The exhibits have recently arrived at the National Museum of Oman from India on loan and they shall be on display for three months. An added attraction was two ‘Selfie with India’ corners enabling the attendees to experience the architectural wonders of India. The colourful evening was conducted in full compliance with all Covid-19 related protocols.


A kaleidoscopic view of different dance forms on display:


Odissi


Odissi, from the beautiful land of Odisha is one of the eight classical dance forms of India. The history of Odissi dance has been traced to the 2nd century BCE proving that it is also the oldest surviving dance form of India. Odissi dance form can be broken down into the movement of the head, bust and torso and the accompanying gestures and expressions. The soulful expressions accompanied by graceful gestures and deft movements punctuated with intermittent moments of stillness appropriate watching Odissi Dance to “Poetry in Motion”.


Mohiniyattam


Mohiniyattam literally means the dance of the enchantress. Born in Kerala, in the 16th century CE, Mohiniyattam is the female counterpart of the male-dominated Kathakali. The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words “Mohini” meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and “aattam” meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The appearance of Mohiniyattam, which is a Lasya style, is characterised by feminine, graceful and characterised body movements, marked by the very fine sway of the torso from side to side, the circular swinging motion of the body creating an 8 (Eight) and far sweeping steps.


Kathak


Kathak is the major classical dance form of northern India. The word kathak means, “to tell a story”. It is derived from the dance dramas of ancient India. The movements of hands (mudra) and body along with facial expressions (abhinaya) were used to tell a story with song and music and this gave birth to Kathak and Kathakars. Kathak is found in three distinct forms, called “gharanas”, named after the cities where the Kathak dance tradition evolved – Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow.


Bharatnatyam


Bharatnatyam literally means the dance of Bharata (India) or it can be broken into its syllables: Bha– bhava or expression, Ra– raga or melody, Ta- tala or rhythm. Bharatnatyam is also referred to as artistic yoga and Natya yoga. The name Bharatnatyam is derived from the word “Bharata” and is thus associated with the Natyashastra. Though the style of Bharatnatyam is over two thousand years old, the freshness and richness of its essence has been retained even today.


The talented dancers on stage:


Aishwarya Hegde


Aishwarya Hegde started her training in Odissi at the early age of seven in Muscat under Guru Deepak Roy. She has followed her calling with discipline, rigorous training and a passion for her art. Following her Guru’s dream to establish Odissi in the Sultanate of Oman, Aishwarya is now the director and Odissi instructor at ‘Deepam Odissi Academy’. With a strong sense of social consciousness, Aishwarya tries to bring in a relevant message through her choreographies.


Srikala M Menon


Started her dance training at the age of 5, Srikala Menon today is an eminent dancer and teacher in 3 Indian classical dance styles, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam. Of the 3 styles, she specialises in Mohiniyattam. With over 30 years of teaching dance, Srikala’s contribution to the world of art has been immense. Additionally, she is also trained in Karnatic music as well as in veena.


Anu Shinai


A hardworking choreographer, a dynamic teacher and an engaging performer. Anu strives to create art that reflects her cultural influences. Anu has evolved a unique personal style based on blending the plus points of all three Gharanas – Lucknow, Jaipur and Banaras.


Kathak Yatra is an emerging startup of Kathak Dance Classes initiated by Anu,


Nandana Krishnamurthy


Nandana is a disciple of Guruvi Shrikala Menon for the past 8 years. She is a promising Bharatnatyam dancer and considers dance her passion. She is a student of grade 9 at Indian School Muscat (ISM).


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