An unforgettable evening that lives in my mind!
The synchronized movements of classical dance performed to professional precision and perfection are always a mesmerizing treat for the eyes and soothing to the soul.
The experience is all the more divine when performed by artists who are differently abled. It is a blessing to be gifted with an opportunity to witness the abilities of those who are specially abled on a stage that vibrates electrifying enthusiasm.
It was one such evening that I was fortunate to be part off, to truly get immersed in the pleasure of passion which showcased the astounding confidence, flair and professional presentation skills of the artists who are otherwise referred in society as “persons with disabilities”. The grounds of Vellaichamy Nadar College in Nagamalai Pudukottai was the place that opened new vistas for the dancers to delight the audience with a once in a lifetime program that was star studded with each and every member of the team.
Better late than never:
I must confess that the evening that I am referring here was not something that happened recently, but it did happen in the year 2017. I had enriched myself more than adequately that evening by witnessing the unlimited abilities of the differently abled persons and treasured those memories with some photographs that I was able to shoot during the event.
It needed a special time and occasion to do a write up and on 25th March 2020 when the whole world is confined to their homes with a deadly virus that has and is threatening mankind, I thought it fit to do this write up to emphasise that the human connections are very much powerful and valuable than compared to any other connections.
Live performance with life:
The manner in which the Visually Impaired dancers enthralled the audience with their perfectly synchronized bharathanatiyam dance sequence holding lamps in their hands was unimaginable to be honest. The reason for me to term it as ‘unimaginable’ is simply because I did have a question in my mind whether it was a real onstage live performance or an animated movie sequence that was screened on a big stage.
If the bharathanatiyam enthralled, the wheel chair bound dancers of Sufi music got the audience to the edge of their seats. It calls for great strength and determination to be on public view straddled on a wheel chair, but here the men came dressed in white with their exceptional skills for a wonderful performance of Sufi Music Sequenced Dance.
The feel was so lively that one could easily identify themselves of being part of a dance item that was new and unique in style and substance. The impeccable lighting and the audio literally took everyone out of the auditorium into a flight fantasy.
It takes two for a tango goes the saying, it was very touching to witness a classical dancer only with her left leg give us one of the boldest demonstration of bharathanatiyam during the evening. It was not only a dance that got many locked on to the stage, but more importantly a message that what one could do in life with what they have, not just living complaining of what they have not.
The dancer was so graceful that one did not notice that she was just dancing with only one leg. She gave a graceful depiction of the classical dance that conveys much through muthras and abinayams so delightfully that one could easily relate to the theme of the dance and the presentation in appreciation.
What is music to the hearing impaired?
The world will go gaga with music that is blasted with a high decibel on professional speakers. So what?…..it is not something unusual may be the common comment from anyone. Quite unexpectedly the evening ended with a standout performance by a hearing impaired female dancer combing with wheelchair bound dancers to give one of the most passionate and powerful performance that got sound raptures in the form of nonstop clapping from the audience.
If one were to look at the photos without bearing in mind that that the female dancer was actually a hearing impaired person, they would not believe their eyes. Taking a second look and observing the facial expressions, the synchronised pose and formation of the dancers, would blow you out of your wildest imagination as to whether was it possible? Yes!, it was the crowning glory of the splendid performance that came through effortlessly but punctuated with great poise and an excellent piece of choreography that let the passion rule the stage.
How did I get there in the first place?
It was my good friend Shri. T. Kumar, the Director of Physical Education and NCC Officer of NMSS Vellaichamy Nadar College in Madurai who invited me for the very special evening which was celebrated in their college campus as a social responsibility day.
‘Virutcham’ an initiative by the NCC Cadets past and present of the college has taken up the social initiative to extend support for the deserving sections of the society. This was an annual event that gave out socio- economic benefits to the deserving sections of the society. A great initiative from the college which is described as a great motivation and encouragement from only with the support of the College Management, Principal Staff and Students says the founder of Virutcham Shri. T. Kumar.
Passionate Dancers who proved:
The evening would very well go into my frame of mind as the one that dispelled the darkness on the question of the abilities of the persons with disabilities. It is not just a matter of mere words just for the sake of mentioning, but instead it comes directly from the deepest bottom of my heart that those dancers not only brought light on their abilities but very effectively convinced the audience that abilities are not to be limited on physical ailments or impairments….. Abilities are a mater the mind and heart and it shall spread light whenever there is a conducive atmosphere in the society.
The team that relegated the audience and shook me off my foot was mentored, trained and guided by Guru Dr. Syed S Pasha, a renowned therapeutic theatre dance choreographer from ability unlimited in New Delhi.