International Odissi Festival 2011: Gandharva Mahavidyalaya performs Kumarasambhavam
Director: Madhavi Mudgal
Duration: 00:19:09; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 22.330; Saturation: 0.318; Lightness: 0.051; Volume: 0.398
Summary: The 4th International Odissi Dance Festival in 2011 was held from December 23 to 30, 2011, at Rabindra Mandap Bhubaneswar. The festival was preceded by an attempt to create a world record by having around 550 dancers perform together at Kalinga Stadium. It saw the participation of most major Odissi ensembles in Orissa and a few from outside the state. With performances for over twelve hours each day, the festival featured several hundred performers in solo, duet and group works over eight days. In its scale, the festival offered a bird's eye view of the landscape of contemporary Odissi and its ever-changing nature. It foregrounded new trends in choreography, music and costuming. The seminars during the festival sparked lively debates on issues and concerns in Odissi. One such concern, voiced repeatedly, questioned the definition of tradition within the space of the dance form and the limits it could be stretched to. This raised parallel questions about innovation and experimentation in Odissi - a debate that found itself mirrored in the performances during the festival.
A Delhi-based institution, Gandharva Mahavidyalaya was established by Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya in 1939. The Gandharva Mahavidyalaya troupe is trained in Odissi by Madhavi Mudgal, who was trained by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. The troupe is made up of acclaimed solo performers and is known for its ensemble work that privileges economy of movement, neatness, rhythm and musicality.
Here, the artists of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya perform Kumarasambhavam, a 6th century epic poem by Kalidasa, choreographed in the Odissi style by Madhavi Mudgal. Shiva burns Kama to ashes and Parvati, who has set her heart on making him her husband, is devastated. She resorts to penance to achieve her goal. As she immerses herself in austerity, Shiva, in the guise of a mendicant, comes to visit her and divine the reason behind her penance. On hearing that the object of her austerities is Shiva, the mendicant is flustered and does his best to dissuade Parvati. She is perplexed and then grows increasingly irritated, refusing to hear what the mendicant has to say, until he finally reveals his true form and placates her.