Dance Review: From Medieval Poetry to Modern Rock at Bhaskareeyam

Bhaskareeyam 2022: Season 2

Bhaskar Academy of Arts
Dramatic Center, National Library, July 24

From a 16th century poem to modern rock songs, Bhaskareeyam’s closing show skillfully brought together ancient and contemporary expressions of dance and music, inviting the audience to question the notion of what the arts of the scene mean to them.

The second season of the annual Bhaskar Academy of Arts Festival ended with a well-organized final showcase featuring talented artists from across the local art fraternity.

Hindustani musicians Debasish Adhikary, Susanta Chowdhury and Mihir Kundu delivered audience favorites with almost mathematical precision in the show’s opening segment.

Adhikary’s performance on the harmonium instrument, a staple of Hindustani music, was a rare treat for the audience. Her voice conveys with finesse the emotional and devotional aspects of the musical tradition of northern India.

Her haunting vocal rendition of a composition by medieval Indian poet Meera Bai, a heady mix of love, desire and sacrifice, struck heart chords.

The second half of the show marked a departure from the strict confines of the traditional repertoire.

The Indo-contemporary performance by Shruthi Nair and Logendra Chandra Sehkar was the highlight of the show, depicting a courtship in a forest to the music of Bangalore progressive rock band Agam.

Pairing the piano of an electric guitar with the Bharatanatyam repertoire is no small feat, but Nair and Logendra pulled it off with practical ease, their footwork and hand gestures moving at breakneck speed.

The boldest segment of the evening was a multimedia performance by KP Bhaskar and Santha Bhaskar’s four grandchildren, paying tribute to the academy’s late founders.

Malini and Shuba Gabriela Bhaskar’s Indo-Western choreography, reminiscent of the fluid styles of artists such as American dancer Isadora Duncan, was a unique exploratory showcase, though it doesn’t blend well with the accompanying visuals. .

Siblings Shruthi and Swathi Kumar delivered an astounding carnatic performance in the Prasaantham: Upcoming Artists segment, with their competitive partnership on stage earning several standing ovations from the audience.

While the twins have yet to fully master adapting their voices to the acoustics of a stage performance, their confidence and mastery of the Carnatic musical scale was breathtaking.

Bhaskar’s Prasaantham series continues to shine a light on the prowess of Singapore’s next generation of artistic talent. We can’t wait to see how many more rough diamonds will be unearthed at next year’s festival.