Leave it to the imagination of a child’s innocent mind to weave out delightful works of art. The rasa (flavour) for both audience and child performer can be truly invigorating that which I experienced at last weekend’s BestTari Odissi presentation by four young boys.
Following the effortless gliding steps of M. Pradeepan and meditative poise of Navinesh both 10-year-olds from Sutra’s Outreach programmes in Kajang and Sungai Choh was an uplifting experience for the audience at Amphi-Sutra.
The 14-year-old pair of Hareen and M. Devakumaran provided the fine edge of cautious refinement fringing the fabric of spontaneity spun by the younger dancers.
I had to disagree with the lament of Pradeepan’s father V. Mathevan that his son wouldn’t smile while playing little Krishna in the Pallavi Kolabati composed by the late Guru Deba Prasad Das. For I could discern the faintest of smiles reminiscent of Krishna’s cheekiness, playing on Pradeepan’s lips and eyes as he danced wearing the peacock feather crown holding the flute playing pose.
I was also spellbound by little Navinesh’s dancing eyes and perfection of the tribhanga (tri-bent feminine pose) and chowk (masculine pose resembling a square) and his total absorbtion in the dance.
Deva Kumaran who is Pradeepan’s elder brother, with his well sculptured and energetic physique convincingly portrayed the divine male principal, Lord Siva in the Mangala Charanam, Ganga Taranga and Asta Sambhu.
The heavier set Hareenn wooed the audience with his flexibility and blended well with the younger dancers. He stood out in the portrayal of the gopi number and sculptural poses of the Silpa Sastra in the Long Sthai, Tham Thei another Debaprasad composition.
Given the short attention span of today’s tablet PC-toting children Sutra’s artistic director Datuk Ramli Ibrahim should be commended for fast-trekking his child dancers to the stage within just three years of training.
In emceeing his young students’ show, Ramli was full of praise for the development of the four boy dancers trained by his senior student, Harenthiran adding that they were a credit to Sutra’s outreach programme.
Review by R. Sittamparam