Datta Darshanam Dance Ballet- A Report
On Saturday, March 26, 2016, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex witnessed an evening of celestial bliss and tradition. One of the oldest Kuchipudi dance schools in Dallas, Kuchipudi Kalakshetra, presented the dance drama – Datta Darshanam. The show was hosted at Granville Arts Center, Garland, TX under the direction of Guru Smt. Padma Sonti.
The play opened with a traditional Kuchipudi prayer followed by Jambasura Daruvu. Jambasura tries to conquer the three worlds with his might and power, dethroning Lord Indra. Meanwhile, Anasuya, consort of Sage Atri, performs a penance for a hundred years as a result of which the Trimurthis give her a boon that they would be born to her by the name Dattatreya. Bala Datta, praised by one and all, enters the water and emerges as the grown Dattatreya along with his consort Anagha. She later explains that she and Datta are one. Anagha represents the supreme yoga and Datta is the crux of Vedas.
Later "Dattatreya" conveys his wish to go to "Sahyadri" to preach his disciples. "Anasuya", unable to overcome her earthly bond with her son, demands he stay put. However, upon seeing his "Atma Jyoti", she realizes that "Dattatreya" is detached from the worldly pleasures. Prince "Karthaveeryarjuna" displays steadfastness and pleases Datta and possesses his blessing.
"Gollabhama", who adores "Lord Dattatreya", sees him in everything around her, and provides clever answers to the poignant questions of townsmen who at the end realizes the divinity of "Lord Dattatreya". Indra requests "Datta" to help him get back the throne from demon "Jambasura". He is consoled by "Datta" and is advised to provoke Jambasura into a fight at the "Sahyadri" mountains. Accordingly, once "Jambasura" is at "Sahyadri", "Anagha" demolishes him to death. The dance drama ended with "Dattatrey"a unveiling the truth to "Indra", that "Anagha" and "Datta" are one and the same – Body and Soul.
Raghava Vedantam, Director of Vedantam Kalakshetram in Houston, enthralled the audience as Jambasura. He depicted the range of the character Jambasura, the might and arrogance in the first scene to the softer side of wooing Anagha at the end. He switched roles in the middle of the drama to portray the staggering drunk man who tests Karthaveeryarjuna. His command over Kuchipudi was evident from his first step till the dance drama concluded.
Venugopal Josyula, Assistant Director of Anjali Center for Performing Artsin Houston played the role of "Dattatreya". Other characters such as "Anasuya" by Aparna Kommaraju, Anagaha by Jaya Gorty, Gollabhama by Dr. Prasanthi Ganesa and Indra by Vamshee Krishna Vunyala were aptly convincing. The folklore blended with traditional Kuchipudi dance in the "Gollabhama" scene was scintillating to watch.
The exquisitely colorful backdrops and lighting created an ideal atmosphere. The ballet was choreographed by Guru Smt. Padma Sonti & Raghava Vedantam. The uplifting and melodious music was composed and sung by Sri DSV Sastry. Overall, it was a memorable evening of devotion through dance.
Copyrights Acknowledged,PriyaLasya, Hamara, (C), AP16-24-1
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