Ramayana Reflection Series IV

Posted on August 3, 2011 by

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May 21, 2011 marked the Chhandam School of Kathak’s cornerstone school production – Ramayana.  The show featured over 350 students, live musicians from India, and appearances by the Chitresh Das Dance Company.  Students, parents, and participants took the time to share their experiences on the performance and being a part of the spectacular production.  Kathaka will be featuring these excerpts in a five part series.

Nabarupa Banerjee, Adult Student & Parent

Don’t you wonder sometimes how after “seemingly” reaching almost all your cliché milestones in life, fate completely surprises you by introducing you to something completely life-altering, awe-inspiring…makes you pause for a moment… take a deep breath and makes you alive again. That in one word is how I felt that day –

Alive…when I stepped in to the wings and waited with bated breath for my turn to step on the majestic stage… I could hear the magnetic throbbing sounds of Guruji’s tabla, Jayanta Banerjee’s Sitar and the talented group of vocalists who were lending their voice to create a magical musical concoction on stage…We saw our teachers – Rachna didi and Antara didi waiting with us  backstage but during that magical moment, I was convinced that I was part of this majestic, mythological epic… In front of me I could not see Rachna didi, I saw Kayikayi herself dressed in all her royal splendor and Antara didi had transformed in to Ram’s dutiful younger brother- Lakshmana…And we, we had transformed in to beautiful, elegant royal priestesses of King Dashrath’s court eagerly waiting to perform the royal puja to enable King Dashrath’s queens to conceive the heirs of Ayodhya… I can still feel the excitement while nervously reciting the “Theka” backstage, trying to make sure that we step on the stage exactly at the “Sam” during the third cycle of Theka…Our group entered from the right and the other group of dancers entered from the left. We merged seamlessly in to 4 lines on the stage, our feet rising and falling rhythmically to the “Tatkar” bols…and then we started dancing the “long pranam”….gracefully and with smiles on our faces…all the weeks of rehearsal, practicing with our talented musicians and teachers, memorizing the steps was finally coming to Fruition…We were there and we were alive…

Mamta Patel-Puri, Adult Student & Parent

Ramayana is the first Chhandam “school” show that I attended.  It was even more so exciting because I was going to see it with my daughter, for  whom it was also the first school dance drama.  It was really amazing to see how so many  levels of classes and students from different areas and branches performed together seamlessly.  The Ramayana depicted legendary choreography, emotionally captivating elements of drama and exemplary dance techniques.  The little children stole the show with their dancing and singing to “tumaka chalata”.  They looked so involved and happy in their “roles” – so many little Ram’s had filled the stage.  What better way to for my daughter to learn of the epic Ramayana…She remembered so much of it even now when I asked her to tell me what she wanted to write for her homework.  One hour of class on Sunday is the highlight of our week and we are so grateful to have this opportunity to train in and learn the art form through Chhandam School of Kathak.  Namaskar to Dadaji and all of the Chhandam teachers!

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