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Friday, December 23, 2011

A medley of seasons

With the winter solstice still in the horizon, art lovers of Hyderabad were treated to a stirring classical dance portrayal of Kalaidasa's mini-epic Ṛtusaṃhāra (Ritusamhara).

This unique dance ballet, conceptualized and directed by Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj, presented the Indian seasons in six classical Indian dance styles. The grīṣma ritu (summer) was portrayed in Bharatanatyam style by Priya Venkataraman, the varṣā ritu (monsoon) in Kathak style by Paramita Maitra, śarat ritu(autumn) in Mohiniattam style by Jayaprabha Menon, hemanta ritu(pre-winter) in Manipuri style by Bimbavathi Devi, śiśira ritu (winter) in Kuchipudi style by Deepika Reddy and vasanta ritu (spring)in Odissi style by Parwati Dutta. The performance was truly a medley of creativity, imbued with charm and beauty unique to each of the classical styles.

The ballet was presented on the occasion of felicitation of Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj by the Andhra Pradesh State Cultural Council. The chairman of the council RV Ramana Murthy, lauding Panditji's outstanding contributions to Indian classical dance, honored him in the presence of Hyderabad's well known dancers and Padma awardees. Panditji expressed his gratitude for the warmth extended and said that he was particularly joyed to have the Veena, the one that he was longing to have for a while. Speaking on the ballet, he said it was rejoicing to see the best of the country's art and artistes on one stage. Also alluding to the mockery of the dance styles on the television, he urged the classical artistes to unite and put forth a "sangharsh with time".

Later, on popular demand, the maestro took on to the stage and left the audience spellbound with a series of brief recitals.

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