Ode To Sacred Symbols Curated By Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra

“Symbols adorn our world and mind at every turn. India’s Sages and seers have created symbolic imagery, transforming mudras (hand gestures) into instantly recognized emblems and transmitters of a Deity’s power or a particular frequency of energy. Each of the dozens of Deities in the Hindu pantheon conveys a cosmic function, force or capacity. Today this ancient magic is carried forward in a multitude of ways, from the temple priest’s invocation to the Indian housewife’s drawing of multi-colored designs, called kolams or rangoli, on the ground as auspicious auguries, household blessings and greetings.

It was this that inspired the theme for Feb3’2024. Although Malls are the INDRAPRASTH of today that had something for every seeking heart, what it needed was the Arts and thanks to Shri Sandip Soparrkarji and GM Shri Satyajit Kotwalji, my dream processed out to a reality which was to have the general public who frequent Malls to connect to the finer aspects of life . ”  said  Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra curator of the unique ‘Ode to Sacred Symbols’ With the Inorbit culture Club as the venue partner, the unique event that had 150 participating professionals took shape at  the extraordinary venue under the umbrella of the NCPA Mumbai Dance Season, with the aim being to have more rasikas connect to the rich spectrum of Indian Classical dance forms .

The traditional Lamp Lighting by Guest of Honour -Shri Sandip Sopaarkar-Indian Latin and ballroom dancer, choreographer, actor, columnist, Philanthropist,Chairperson of India Fine Arts Council, Doctorate in World Mythology,  G.M – Inorbit Mall Shri Satyajit Kotwal, Prog Head for Dance- Dr Swapnokalapa Dasguptaji.

Senior Gurus present and celebrity guests Fashion Guru – Sonia Mayers -The face of Swadeshi Brand& Founder of Dr A. P. J .Kalam Bharata Puraskar Ridhima Pai- Pantaloons Femina  Miss India Finalist & Model ,Indian Actor -Shri Mukul Naag of Saibaba fame , Bollywood Actor Shri Kamal Ghimire  set the prelude to the beautiful chapter.

The positive message that Sandip Soparrkar highlighted, bespoke of a concern for unity vital in this world today and artists as those responsible mediums who could highlight it most effectively  .  The anticipation in onlookers who thronged to witness the show was obvious and infectiou.

The Sacred Symbol of CHAKRA ,  Vishnu’s symbol as the wheel of time by  Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya set the flow. The dancers through the synergy of three dance forms  elaborated interestingly the Kaal chakra concluding with Abhimanyu’s Chakravyuh- a formidable military structure that resembled a labyrinth of several defensive walls. The evocative exploring  through an interesting choreography that endorsed the beauty of three styles -Bharata Natyam, Kathak and Mohiniattam  rooted the moving crowd of the Inorbit Mall to stillness! .

Guru Keka Sinha- Kalapi Centre of Performing arts  with Somangka Bhattacharjee presented     Kannadi bimbam – the  Mirror .The mirror worshipped as the manifestation of  the wrathful merciless  Bhadrakali  – who emanated from the third eye of Lord Shiva to vanquish Demon  darika accorded with the boon of immortality by Brahma . Senior Manipuri Exponent and Teacher Latasanadevi – the senior disciple of Padmashri Guru  Darshana Jhaveriji,   through  ‘Prarthana’  highlighted  the significance of Tilaka  . With the flowing grace that is Manipuri, she highted  why staunch Vaishnava devotees wear tilak on twelve parts of the body.  Guru  Dr Sailaja Desai  (Kuchipudi)& Guru  Dr Suman Badami (Bharata Natyam ) both Mentors and Exponents in their Respective styles and Curators of Powai Fine Arts , explored  the echoes of Dharma unravelling  the Symbolism of Lord Krishna’s Conch Panchajanya .

Imagery of Shankh through Andal’s Naachiyar Tirumozhi – karuppuram narumO  by  Dr Suman  Desai and  Kurukshetra battle scene  where the Lord sounded his Conch -by Dr Sailaja Desai brought to life the Symbol of the Conch .Manas Cultural Institute- Disciples of Guru  Smt Manisha Jeet  with absolute soulful energy of Kathak  took up Kasturi Tilakam from  Sri Krishna Karnamrutham,  to explore Tilaka .

Accomplished Odissi Mentor,Exponent Dr Sarmishta Chattopadhyay-explored sandal paste – chandan through an odiya song by upayendra bhanja wherein  a young gopi comforts her Krishna with a garland of soft malli flowers to soothe him by applying sandal paste .Dr Ayswaria Wariar explored ankusa –the goad of Bhadrakali  and began interestingly  with the kerala temple ritual of kalamezhuthu paatu concluding with creation of bhairavi from shivas third eye. The sound of the reed comes from fire, not wind and  Disciples of Purbita mukherjee – explored the sacred flute.Seasoned Kathak exponent Isha kathavathe  explored the SHREE yantra- supreme mystical mandala –the living yantra and related its distinct geometric symbolism with the kinestheics of Kathak. Disciples of Guru Padmini Radhakrikrishna – Saundarya Natya Kalalaya Foundation explored the  bell -Ghanta  used in ritual puja that stimulates the inner ear to remind us that, like sound, the world may be perceived but not possessed ! Upasana Academy  of Fine Arts – Disciples of Guru Jayshree Nair reached out with the Star  through bhakta Dhruva to awaken all to  a lesson of surrendering all worries, to the divine.

Aditi Nrityalaya –Disciples of  Guru Sushri Lata Bakalkar explored with commitment  the sacred  dumroo – the two sides of which represented the duality of existence.  Ananya Iyer and Megha M Pillai ,the Disciples of Kalashri Lata Surendra-the curator took up the Peacock as the vehicle or Vahana of  Lord Subramanya.

Though the Peacock is noted for its excessive pride which is  attributed as  a negative trait , the rhythm- packed choreography symbolically attributed  it as the pride that a seeker of Truth should have for Supreme Self and the answering rhythm binding the vahana and the deity reflective of the harmony ever so vital in the universe resounding with Omkaram . Sujatha Ramanathan-the accomplished Bharata Natyam exponent  once again accentuated harmony through the vaak devi- embracing wisdom and creativity  The veena, in addition to representing the arts, serves as a reminder to tune one’s heart and mind to live in harmony with others and the world.

Ved dance academy  – graceful Kathak exponent&Teacher  Aditi Yadav &   Senior  Mentor and exponent  Smt  Paullumi Mukherjee awakened all to the saguna and nirguna aspect.Paullumi with maturity  explored  the  texture of peetham  in the creation of Haridri Ganesha  while  through the Composition of Sant Kabir  Aditi Yadav,with poise  gracefully set about  the awakening of ebullient yellow through the formless.  Bharatanatyakalalaya- with Anupama Devrajan, the dedicated disciple of Guru Geetha Venkateshwar exponent explored the dualistic aspect of Sacred Symbol -Agni.The Founder of  Geetanjali dance school,renowned Mohiniattam  Guru Geetha Vijayshanker’s talented Disciples evocatively   highlighted the ornaments of Lord Shiva, through  sopana sangeetham.

The  imaginative choreography invoked the Lord’s grace  with the crescent moon and sacred  Ganga flowing from his  matted locks!. The theme was once again elaborated by vibrant  disciples of imaginative  Guru Shri K V Rajan, Founder of Meenakshi Nritya Vidyalaya . Kalangan Guru Moli Sidharth ‘s disciples   explored the sacred symbol of the tears of Lord Shiva- Rudraksh through a thought provoking choreography . ‘Ecological responsibility is not an obligation, once we realize we are all an integrated’  and this was what was sensitively  highlighted through the sacred Vat Vriksha by Taal Mani Pandit Brijraj Misra Foundation by Mentor Smt Anu Harshal & Disciples.

Akshobhya Bharadwaj, who is at the core of the new generation of Kathak dancers, embodied Bhasma  through his energetic performance . The Creative Visualiser  Debabrata Pal through the  synergy of dance and painting depicted the ardhanarishwara symbol . Committed Kathak exponent Shri Kailasnath Kurup doing his Masters at the Bharata College of Fine Arts, explored the blue lotus garland of Lord Shiva choreographed  by the very thinking artist and researcher Dr Sunil Sunkara.

The seasoned Kathak Exponent charismatic  Disha Desai & team explored bilva patra . The Ode to Sacred Symbols concluded with a stirring definition of Dwaj-The Flag  through  the lament of a patriot’s motherby curator Kalashri Dr lata Surendra  . She highlighted to all that the flag is symbolic of our Nation’s pride and accords unto each of us our very Cultural identity . Thus with the promise of new beginnings, the witnessing eyes of thronging rasikas at the In orbit Malad reached out to waiting life realizing that life is not just about passing moments but about shared moments that take our breath away!

By a Dance  Reporter  – Inorbit Culture Club

Ode To Sacred Symbols  Curated By Kalashri Dr Lata Surendra