Moksha, an Odissi dance recital was held on the 1st of February, 2014 at the Musgrove Theatre in Auckland. It was performed by Thamizhavanan Veshnu, an Indian classical dancer of international repute, having performed in many countries and was narrated by Dr. Chandrabhanu, a doyen in the field of Indian classical dance.
How does one review a performance from a dancer and his guru, people who have dedicated their life to learn the complex dance form of Odissi, known as the one of the oldest dance forms in the world. Well, one can't and one shouldn't indulge in this indiscretion. So this is not a review.
What I will instead try to do is relay to you the enriching experience I had at Moksha, the first live Odissi recital in New Zealand. The intimacy of Musgrove Theatre made it possible for the each and every audience member to get to experience every quiver and every gesture performed expertly by Veshnu.
The recital followed the traditional form, starting with a salutation to God, moved into a more elaborate 'Pallavi', peaked with the 'Abhinaya' of Jaydev's Geet-Govind and Shankaracharya's 'Panchakshari Stotram', ending the liberation, 'Moksha'.
Veshnu masterfully created and dismantled a variety of universes with practiced yet spontaneous ease, enrapturing the audience while doing so. What furthered our involvement was the enlightening narration by the doyen, Dr. Chandrabhanu explaining the meaning of the performance that was to follow, even demonstrating certain key steps and themes. Dr. Chandrabhanu's command over the craft meant that we were waiting to see Veshnu perform after every enthralling introduction and Veshnu delivered, every single time.
It was fascinating to see the Veshnu's versatility on display, tenderly portraying the lover's tiff from Geet-Govind and followed immediately by the more masculine and powerful presentation of Shiva, in all his glory in 'Panchakshari Stotram'.
For an audience witnessing live Odissi for the very first time, this recital was a definite success as it involved and enraptured them in equal measure. Me? I lost count of the number of times I had goose bumps while experiencing the marvel that was, Moksha.