Dance review: From mediaeval poetry to modern rock in Bhaskareeyam

The Indo-contemporary performance by Logendra Chandra Sehkar (left) and Shruthi Nair depicted a courtship in a forest. PHOTO: VAARSHA NAIR

Bhaskareeyam 2022: Season Two

Bhaskar's Arts Academy
Drama Centre, National Library, July 24

From a 16th-century poem to modern-day rock songs, Bhaskareeyam's closing show deftly brought together ancient and contemporary expressions of dance and music, inviting the audience to challenge the notion of what the performing arts mean to them.

The second season of Bhaskar's Arts Academy's annual festival wrapped up with a well-curated final showcase featuring talented performers from across the local arts fraternity.

Hindustani musicians Debasish Adhikary, Susanta Chowdhury and Mihir Kundu delivered crowd favourites with almost mathematical precision in the opening segment of the show.

Adhikary's performance on the harmonium instrument, a staple of Hindustani music, was a rare treat for the audience. His vocals conveyed the emotional and devotional aspects of the northern Indian music tradition with finesse.

His haunting vocal rendition of a composition by mediaeval Indian poetess Meera Bai, a heady mix of love, yearning and sacrifice, tugged at the heartstrings.

The show's second half signalled a departure from the strict confines of 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 set to music by Bangalore progressive rock band Agam.

Matching the strum of an electric guitar to bharatanatyam repertoire is no mean feat, but Nair and Logendra pulled it off with practised ease, their footwork and hand gestures moving at breakneck speed.

The most daring segment of the night was a multimedia performance by K.P. 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 free-flowing styles of artistes such as American dancer Isadora Duncan, was a unique, exploratory showcase, although it failed to meld well with the accompanying visuals.

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

While the twins have yet to fully master adapting their vocals to the acoustics of a stage performance, their confidence and command of the carnatic musical scale was breathtaking.

Bhaskar's Prasaantham series continues to bring the prowess of Singapore's next generation of artistic talents to light. One looks forward to seeing how many more diamonds in the rough will be unearthed at next year's festival.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.