Celebrating World Dance Day in their very own way, are the dancers from the Sanjali Centre for Odissi Dance. They are all set to present a poetic description of the season of summer. Based on Kalidasa’s Ritusamhara, Grisma is a performance which is all about the bright, vibrant and colourful flavours of the summer season, and it has been conceptualised and choreographed by noted Odissi danseuse Sharmila Mukerjee.
The production elaborately portrays that time of the year when the sun is fully ablaze and fierce, and for the choreographer, that was the selling point. “Summer is a much-disliked season but I wanted to bring out the beauty of it too. Also, other seasons like monsoon and spring have been done in Odissi, a number of times. My plan was to do something completely different and challenging,” smiles Mukerjee who choreographed six dancers for the production. “I picked around seven stanzas from Kalidasa’s poem, ones that were the most descriptive. The concept was quite challenging as well, because it involves a number of movements and hand gestures, which is what makes it quite elaborate. It’s also so beautiful because strange friendships flourish between animals, as well as humans. The snake and peacock, who are supposed to be arch enemies also live in harmony. The snake takes shelter from the heat under the peacocks spread feathers,” explains the danseuse. “The most challenging part of it all though, was to make sure there were no repetitions as it can become boring for the audience. So keeping that in mind, I have made the movements flowier,” says Mukerjee.
With summer in full swing, portraying the enjoyable things that summer brings, like moonlit evenings, hues of orange and gold and dances on moonlit terraces could not come at a better time. “Though a number of people see the dusty, sultry and unbearable heat, we want people to look at the beauty of all of it,” shares Abhaya Lakshmi, one of the six dancers who has been training under her guru for over five years now. “Along with the choreography, the music is also very upbeat and keeps the audience engaged with a switch between the ragas and talas. It adds variety and life to the production. That’s the best part about performing poems on stage. They are already so descriptive and it is very easy to act out those descriptions,” smiles the dancer. Does this come with any message that the audience should watch out for, we want to know? “The basic message of the production is that life goes on. Seasons come and go and days will pass no matter what, so we might as well celebrate and embrace it,” quips Mukerjee who also believes that the audience should come prepared for a blast of summery colours, and leave feeling hotter than the weather!
— The performance will be held on April 28 at Seva Sadan in Malleshwaram at 6.30 pm.