IRVINE, CA – Medha Vishwanath had her ‘Rangapravesh’ here on July 11. A student of the Odissi classical dance style, she ‘ ascended the stage’ in her debut solo dance performance. She started her Odissi training about five years ago under her guru Nandita Behera , the founder and artistic director of the...
The opening dance was ‘Mangalacharan’ an invocation to the gods. A number of performances followed, which gave the audience a glimpse of the dancer’s versatility and artistic skills. ‘Saveri Pallavi’, a lyrical pure dance composition was set to the Saveri Raga. The grace of the dancer was evident in the movements of the eyes, neck, torso, and feet building up to a crescendo.
‘Karunalu Baa Belake’ (Lead Kindly Light), was in Medha’s mother-tongue, Kannada. This 19th century hymn by Cardinal John Henry Newman was translated by B.M Sreekantaiahin to Kannada, and sung by M.D.Pallavi. In this hymn, the dancer as a supplicant beseeches the Almighty to hold her hand and lead her towards salvation.
‘Dashavatar’ focused on ‘Abhinaya’ or ‘dramatic expression’ of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu- a fish, tortoise, boar, composite of a man and lion, dwarf, sage, Lord Rama, Lord Balarama, the Buddha and the one yet to come, Kalki.
The students of Odissi Dance Circle presented a group dance –‘ Shiva Stuti’ in praise of Lord Shiva,as a gift to Medha from her fellow dancers. Medha presented her parents with a surprise item as a gift of gratitude.
This was followed by Guru Puja where Medha conveyed her deep gratitude to her guru Nandita Behera and in turn sought her blessings. The concluding dance was ‘Mokshya’ or ‘spiritual liberation’. This pure dance was high energy done to a fast tempo and accompanied by the ‘bols’ of the drum. It was a fitting climax. Medha currently attends Chapman University and is double majoring in Economics and Peace Studies. In fall this year, she will be studying at the University of Amsterdam and traveling all over Europe.