Haridas Sammelan: Our Classical Dancers
(A curtain raiser on Haridas Sammelan festival of music and dance, 1959)
By MOHAN D. NADKARNI writing as LALITMOHAN DUTTA,
The Bombay Sentinel, February 26, 1959
Indian Dance is not just a representation of mechanical sequences in rhythm. It is its intimate relationship with human psychology that makes this art ever spontaneous and full of verve and grace.
The range of Indian dance extends from the strictly classical style of Bharata Natyam, Kathakali, Kathak and Manipuri with their endless variety of expression and modulation to the subtle rhythm and uncanny flow of folk dances of Gujarat and Seraikella.
Some of the popular exponents of various schools of dancing are participating in the Swami Haridas Sangeet Sammelan. They include Rita Chatterji and S.Jayin (bharata natyam), Damayanti Joshi, Sitara Devi, Gopi Krishna and Ratan Shankar (Kathak) and Jhaveri sisters (Manipuri).
Bharata Natyam is essentially feminine in characters, and owes its origin to Tanjore.
Rita Chatterji who is related to Rabindranath Tagore, is a graduate of Bombay University. She has specialised in both Bharat Natyam and Manipuri styles. An imaginative dancer, she has the capacity to delineate her sequences expressively.
- Jayan is one of the highly promising exponents of Bharata Natyam of Bombay. Recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi’s scholarship for dancing, this young artiste learnt her art from Govindaraja Pillai and Mahalingam Pillai.
Damayanti Joshi had the privilege of learning dance from that great master of Kathak Achchhan Maharaj. While yet a child, she had occasion to tiur European and South-East Asian countries as a member of Menaka’s troupe. Although she has specialized in various styles of dancing. Kathak is her forte.
Kathak is a solo dance in mime, and it is romantic and lyrical in its content and expression, and varied situations and moods of love usually comprise its home. Damayanti combines in her art technical proficiency of the highest order with a vivid imagination.
Sitara And Gopi Krishna
Sitara Devi and Gopi Krishna, who have also made their mark on the screen, studied Kathak from Achchhan Maharaj. Both in India and abroad, they have won acclaim as leading interpreters of classical dancing.
Ratan Shankar is yet another exponent of Kathak from Bombay. His grace, his clarity of line and his technical mastery are amazing. Religiously faithful to tradition, young Ratan Shankar holds out much promise of a future veteran.
The ‘Ras’ dance of Manipur is wonderfully fascinating with its intricate rhythmic patterns.
The Jhaveri sisters Nayana, Ranjana, Suvarna and Darshana are talented exponents of Manipuri dancing. They have received training under the supervision and guidance of Bipin Sinha, the well-known Manipuri master.
Their mastery of art has evoked admiration from large audiences, eminent scholars and leading art organizations. Nayana and Ranjana are assisting Bipin Sinha as dance teachers in his school.