Odissi’s divine charm

Choreographer Ratikant (centre) says the dance tells the story of a devotee who wanted to meet Lord Rama.

WITH fluid movements and varied expressions, Seetha Lakshmi and her team danced their way into the audience’s hearts.

The performance at the Temple of Fine Arts Penang in Babington Avenue drew some 100 people.

A spectator who wanted to be known only as Janet said the performance offered her a wonderful and immersive experience.

“I do not know much about the Indian or Hindu culture and this dance was very intriguing, ” she said after the show.

“I could tell the dancers were telling stories through their graceful movements.”

Choreographer Ratikant Mohapatra said the dance performed was the Odissi, one of the oldest temple dances from Orissa, India.

“In this performance, the dance told the story of a devotee, Shabari, who wanted to meet Lord Rama, a Hindu god.

“As much as Shabari wanted to meet Lord Rama, he did not appear in front of her until she was old and unable to walk.

“When Lord Rama appeared, Shabari was overwhelmed.

“Her happiness forms the core of the story, ” he said, adding that the performance was titled ‘Anweshanaa’ to mean ‘a search of the extraordinary’.

Temple of Fine Arts Penang dancer Seetha Lakshmi, 47, and Temple of Fine Arts KL senior dancer Gowri Chandran, 49, said they performed classic techniques of the Odissi.

“We always look forward to performing this dance, ” Lakshmi said.

Gowri said it does not matter if the story is from a different culture.

Temple of Fine Arts Penang chairman Dr M. Shunmugam said the performance was the grand finale for the year.

“We believe in nurturing the fine arts, ” he said during his speech at the end of the show.

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