Image Courtesy: Shweta Prachande (https://www.facebook.com/shwetapdance/)
6th Feb 2017
It is a fine Sunday evening. The streets of Mangalore lay lazily contemplating the hectic week lying ahead, but the heart of the city is throbbing with the energy emanating from the stirring performance of one of the most promising young Bharatnatyam dancers of our land, today.
Shweta Prachande was in town, performing as part of Samarpan, a two day dance fest, at Don Bosco Hall, on 5th February 2017.
Shweta Prachande has always been an epitome of perfection in her recitals. Every aspect of her performance is separately carved with a certain sense of precision that is otherwise rarely felt to the audience. Her introductory announcements are delivered in a crispy voice (her own), in clean English, with the right amount of information about the item. The music is always live. And the musicians are in pace with her, supporting her suitably, never ahead, never lagging behind. Her costume, makeup and hairdo are all traditional, and traditional has a simple beauty. Although experimentation is on everyone’s checklist these days, sticking on to the rulebook saves the audience the time that goes into deliberating and forming opinions on whether it was acceptable or distasteful to the artform. You get to focus on the art itself, and everything else is well within the limits of the classical definitions. And Shweta makes sure that her costume adds more charm to her recital- in colours that look brilliant on stage, snugly fitting, and never causing a distraction to herself or the audience during the performance by interfering with complicated movements. The make-up enhances her lovely features.
As far as the performance is concerned, the footwork is so precise you could measure time with it! Not a beat missed, none of the compromising that is taken for granted during Nritta of exceptional speed and intricacy. And what mind-blowing choreography she brings with her! With abhinaya that appeals to even the least informed of the audience, she shines in this aspect too. Be it the Khandita Nayika of Rangesha who bitterly accuses him of being with other women, or the newly wed bride who is trying to convince her husband to confine his advances to their home, Shweta slips in and out of the skin of the characters with graceful ease. The stage lighting never hampers the performance, and all available elements are used to enhance the effect. All in all, she gives the audience that content which comes with being in the vicinity of perfection and quality.
The choice of items for the evening was excellent. The Mallari interspersed with verses describing Lord Siva gave her first time rasikas, an idea of the level of performance to be expected for the rest of the evening. The way she covers the entire span of the space available to her in the most efficient way, is a testimony to the brilliance of the choreography. Bhakti was flowing from the stage towards the audience and the music added to the effect.
The Maathey Varnam in Khamaj Ragam gave the audience a true picture of her capacity as a possible torch bearer of Bharatnatyam. Being a traditional item, the viewers would have had prior experience with this particular Varnam. Ergo the level of expectations would only be high. Well, Shweta has only raised that level. With outstanding energy, and choreography that ranges from sophisticated and fast to graceful and geometric, she mesmerized the audience in every sense of the word. (As for me, I was overjoyed to see her Maathey Varnam live, after watching excerpts of it on Youtube to my heart’s content). The Charanam involved her description of each part of Devi in two lines, followed by a jathi each.
The Padam ‘Indendu Vachitivira’, where the Khandita Nayika asks Krishna why he has knocked on her doors tonight, filled the air with the sourness! She asks him if he has forgotten the way to the home of the other woman. The anger and sarcasm, were expressed with such originality, that you could almost see a Krishna on stage, with head hung low.
‘Samayam ithu allavo’, saw the newly wed bride convincing her husband that this is no place nor time for his advances. She explains the embarrassment that awaits her if a passerby sees them there. Once again, Shweta stole the show and the deluge of Sringara drowned us.
The last item for the evening was the beautiful Purvi Thillana of Thirugokarnam Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. The Thillana added a whole new charm to the evening with the music luring our ears and the dancer tackling the piece with deft Nritta and graceful postures.
The accompanying artistes were great in their own sense. Smt.Vasudha Ravi on vocals was on par with the performer. Sri. Sajilal on Nattuvangam, Sri. Sivaprasad on Murdangam and Sri. Rijesh on Violin were all in sync with Shweta.
In a nutshell, one is left hoping for the performance to go on and on, and never stop. Such is the beauty that comes in a package along with tremendous energy, an expressive body, the ability to connect well with the audience and the good spirits and humility of this young and promising danseuse.
A twenty something feeling her way through life.