Review: Chaitanya: A blend of positive energy, consciousness

By B B Nagpal/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, August 4, 2010:

It was a performance that left many in the audience breathless: it was almost as if the dancers were putting their own body muscles to the ultimate test.

Using a combination of sinewy movements and almost athletic skills, the dancers created a synthesis of energy flows and vibrations, which create a dynamism which makes the consciousness (chaitanya) awaken and bring about a transformation. The dancers through their movements created positive vibrations that affected the audience.

In a unique dance presentation, young artistes of Sadhya created a movement-oriented dance which was more like a conversation between consciousness (chaitanya) and energy. They awakened the stillness in consciousness which has no range without energy, and stressed the need for modern man to awaken this.

Conceptualized by Nalini Sharma, "Chaitanya" aimed at defining and discovering all possible flow of energy - individually and collectively; and pushing the boundaries, connecting to the core.

Staged at the Stein Auditorium of the India Habitat Centre in the evening of 30 July, it had soul-stirring music by Upmanyu Bhanot, with imaginative use of lights by Milind Shrivastava, and an imaging experience created by the husband-wife photography team Soumit and Soumita who set the tone even before the performance commenced.

Led by Sadhya’s Creative Director Santosh Nair, who choreographed "Chaitanya", the dancers – Tushar Kalia, Bhavini Misra, Akram Shaik, Kauleshwar Kumar Thakur, Nikhil Lal, Khushboo Gupta, Caroline Prada, Charu Shankar and Nand Kumar – gave a presentation which was a tribute to any soul ready to identify itself with all others, believing in the concept of oneness of this existing creation.

Dance has been a passion with them, even though it may not have always been smooth sailing. They have achieved this under the guidance and training of Santosh Nair.

The new choreographic work managed to blend the different media of photography and music lights etc. to bring across the message of directing energies purposefully for a cause.

Set up in 1998 by dancer-choreographer Santosh Nair. Sadhya is a contemporary arts academy which has taken upon itself the task of being a bridge between tradition and modernity and the philosophy of tradition and innovation. Though it has drawn from Mayurbhanj Chhau which is a martial form of Orissa, Sadhya has evolved a style of its own.

Santosh Nair’s journey as a dancer began under the blessings of his father Kalamandalam Padmanabhan in 1986 as a Kathakali dancer. He furthered his training at Kathakali centre under the able guidance of Sadanam Balakrishnan.

The strong urge to explore, feel and create, led him to learn modern dance for the next five years with Narendra Sharma of Bhoomika Creative Dance Centre, performing and choreographing dance pieces in a most innovative and heart touching manner. The desire to incorporate varied movements into his dance style saw him learning the traditional dance of Orissa, Mayurbhanj Chhau, under Guru Janmey Joy Sai Babu.

Apart from holding workshops in India and many countries of the world, Santosh has held dance performances at the national and international level with some of the best known names. He choreographed the French Opera "If I were King", premiered in Delhi this year, "Jagriti…the awakening" for the Sangeet Natak Akademi festival in 2009 in Mumbai; the home production-"We can make the difference" based on global warming; the home production-Nataraj-the Lord of Dance based on Mayurbhanj Chhau and contemporary dance; and A Doll’s House supported by Norwegian Embassy, among other national achievements.

At the international level, he choreographed "Stealth" for Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa; "The Spirit of India"- the contemporary section for the Inauguration of The Year of India in Russia in Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow under the aegis of ICCR; performed The Game of Dice at the National Theatre in Oslo, Norway, and for the International Festival IBSA in Brazil and Port of Spain; and collaborated with Project Motherland with Sampad South Asian Arts, Birmingham, among many other laurels.