Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh, known for its 1000 year old temple monuments is a host to one of the oldest and most prestigious classical dance festivals in India. The week-long Khajuraho Nritya Samaroh features young and senior artists presenting solo works, as well as group choreographies. I had the honour of presenting a solo Bharatanatyam recital at the festival on the 25th of February, 2018. I closely worked under my Guru Smt. Geeta Chandran and performed traditional compositions in the Bharatanatyam style.
The following is the review of my performance by senior critic Dr. Sunil Kothari.
“From Delhi, daughter of poet Ashok Chakradhar, Sneha Chakradhar presented her polished Bharatanatyam performance with live orchestra. Trained for more than 20 years under Geeta Chandran, she is a regular performer in Natya Vriksha productions. She has obtained PhD in Dance and is a regular performer with considerable experience. The opening verses in praise of Lord Shiva, Tirumoolar mantram, saw Sneha worshiping the all pervading god. Descending from the upper level and covering the stage she conveyed the essence of the mantra. The dovetailing of Natanam Adinar in raga Vasanta offered choreographer Geeta Chandran chance to explore the various attributes of Lord Shiva. Interspersed with jathis that enhanced the brilliance of movements, Sneha did full justice to the nritta aspect as well as to abhinaya. Dancing in the golden Hall of Chidambaram temple, bringing out the glory of dance of Nataraja, Sneha was in her element. The dance shook eight directions and even Shesha naga who balances the earth found it difficult to maintain balance. The Ananda Tandava of Lord Shiva astounds his devotees. The entire performance was a joyous rendition. Set to Mand raga, Meerabai’s popular bhajan Mane chakar rakhoji, struck rapport with the audience. Geeta Chandran’s choreography of how devotee would serve the lord was crafted in detail, and created the garden that devotee would carefully look after, all rendered pleasantly. The stanza adhi raat ko darshan dijo, even in the midnight devotee sings with joy the god would give her darshan and that too on the bank of Jamuna. The response from the audience was heartening.
Tillana in Lalgudi G Jayaraman’s Rageshri with its musical intricacies and tala, the silences between phrases, was the highlight of the performance. The various patterns and the lovely diagonal stretched arms and architectonic beauty of the form were a delight to watch. The periya adavus covering the stage explored the space beautifully. The teamwork of musicians led by Geeta Chandran on nattuvangam was of their customary finesse with K. Venkateswaran on vocal, Manohar Balatchandirane on mridangam and Ravinder Rajput on flute.”