First Day Of Konark Festival 2023: Bharatanatyam Steals The Show

This sounds obvious and predictable to write that the famous Konark Festival, the prime cultural event annually hosted by Odisha Tourism, has begun with a Soorya Stuti: an ovation to the Sun god. Well, that is needed, but there can also be a possibility to reimaging the beginning with some kind of out of box ideas. In Indian classical dance “out of box” is a bad word as it goes against the institution of tradition. Somehow tradition is not all about a confined space of cultural practices. Tradition is a flowing stream where robust lines of waters come across all the direction and make it ever anew and afresh.

The Konark festival began with a well knitted traditional piece of Soorya Stuti in Odissi dance style, presented by Cuttack-based dance troupe “Soor Mandir”. The Mangalacharana piece blended with a pure dance number “Naada Ninada” went up well.

Jyotsnarani Sahu, the budding choreographer who has shown her immense talent earlier, came up with a new dance drama “Sharana” exclusively produced for the festival. The dance narrative goes with three very known mythological episodes like- Gajendra Moksha, Giri Gobardhana and Draupadi Bastra Harana. When you pick up a traditional theme for a new production you must be aware that this should not be a pack of movements often repeated. In Soor Mandir’s presentation, there were many obvious and predictable movements which could have been remolded.

P Praveen Kumar, the Bengaluru-based Bharatanatyam exponent and his Chithkala School of dance group stole the show with their well-crafted choreographic moves and expressional clarity. Symmetry, precision and poeticity, these are words synonymous with Praveen ‘s creative work. It was again a traditional amalgamation of three dance numbers. Began with a Soorya Stuti where dancers move like water and make suggestive formations to narrate the mythical elements of the Sun God. Yatiswaram and Thillana portrayed Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna in their descriptive and philosophical forms.

Praveen is aptly supported by his well-groomed dancers, but the bigger support was his small group of musicians. They were absolutely a treat to the soul.

The first evening of Konark Festival 2023 gives something to cherish for long.

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