Basant Bells was an entertaining evening of bharatanatyam performance by Swati Dance Company.
A good selection of traditional and newly choreographed pieces were presented in a compact programme of group, duet and solo dances by Swati Raut and her young dancers.
All the pieces were performed with due attention and lively enthusiasm. Tasteful traditional costumes, professionally managed lighting and sound added to the overall quality of the performance.
Naturally individual dancers displayed different levels of skill and maturity. Swati’s solos reflected a variety of moods and range of her technical skills. Her senior students Shruti and Vaidehi danced with grace and dignity. Shruti’s performance of Rushili Radha, choreographed by Swati, set to a Marathi song was a truly delightful number. Something about her performance was absolute magic. It reminded me of her Arangetram recital. She has a very personal style of giving a convincing interpretation of the emotional landscapes of the characters she portrays. She bridges the past and the present. Her natural physicality, angika abhinaya somehow gives the conventional emotions of her characters a contemporary relevance.
A special feature of this evening was the first act of Basant Bells, which was created during a short collaboration between Swati Youth Dance and the celebrated Canadian choreographer Hari Krishnan: a different style of choreography taking a fresh approach to directionality, level, use of arms and mudras. Some of the images of the piece were so pleasing and strong that I can still see them if I close my eyes. The experience of working with such a creative and technically astute artist like Hari Krishnan will leave a lasting legacy for the young dancers and the company as a whole.