Looking back at the isolation and upheaval caused by the successive Covid-19 pandemic waves, seasoned dancer and recipient of Padma Shri Geeta Chandran presented her first solo Bharatanatyam recital after two years in New Delhi last weekend. Titled “In Search Of Infinity”, her new work, presented by Natya Vriksha, reflected her internal journey through the pandemic and was staged in India Habitat Centre.
The evening started with a performance based on Hindi poet Jai Shankar Prasad’s “Beeti Vibhavari Jaag”, which saw Chandran use the pandemic as a metaphor for darkness that one needs to put behind and embrace better tomorrow with caution. She depicted hope to the audience by showing a dry tree springing to life.
Chandran’s next performance was based on the episode of Lord Krishna lifting Govardhan mountain to protect people. In this she explored the nava rasas which she experienced, including sorrow, disgust, love and wonder when in isolation. Using the Sanskrit verses from Sri Krishna Karna-amrita shlokam by Bilvamangala Swami the emotions were explored through abhinaya and music.
In her next piece, Chandran used Muthuswami Dikshitar’s Carnatic music composition to look at compassion and sustenance which helped people to deal with the troubled times.
Having spent a lot of time with her young grandson, inspired the dancer to present maternal feelings through a lullaby written by poet Surdas, in which Ma Yashoda narrates Lord Ram’s story to child Krishna while putting him asleep.
The concluding dance of the evening was based on a piece by Swami Annamacharya on the need to accept differences. The poet calls for samdrishti towards the entire humanity irrespective of their diverse beliefs.
Narrating how her dance studio during the lockdown had become eerily silent without the students and activity, Chandran said after a brief initial hiatus, she decided to look at the slew of incomplete ideas and finish them. “I recognized that my art was capable of feeding my soul and saving me from the downward spiral that so many around me were sliding down on! And I also realized that my internal landscape was robust enough to keep me busy, occupied and happy,” she remarked.
Chandran was accompanied during the evening by musicians — Sharanya Chandran, K. Venkatesh, Manohar Balachandirane, Varun Rajasekhar, Sujit Nayak, and VSK Annadorai.
Also read: Renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran receives first IIMCAA Lifetime Achievement Award