1. Navasandhi Kauvuthuvam / Allarippu Raga: Nattai / Varali / Malahari
Tala: Adi / Chatusra Jhampa / Chatusra Eka / Khanda Chapu / Tisra Dhruva1
Gayathri opens the program with the rarely performed Navasandhi Kauvuthuvams, original temple dances paying homage to the deities of the directions. In this performance homage is paid to Agni, Varuna and Ishana. Following this Allarippu is presented in the rare talam of Tisra Dhruva.
Composers: Tanjore Quartette Choreography: Veshnu / Tanjore Quartette / Adyar K. Lakshman
Raga: Malayamarutham Tala: Adi
This pure dance piece demonstrates the dancer’s technical capabilities. The clean lines of the technique are demonstrated through a series of complex phrases set to different time measures and rhythmic variations.
3. Devi Neeye Thunai (Tamil) Raga: Keeravani Tala Adi
A beautiful haunting piece of music describing the great goddess as Meenakshi of Madurai, this song lends itself to a moving rendition in dance. The goddess is described as the beloved of Lord Shiva and as a patron of music and the arts.
Composer: Papanasam Sivan Choreography: Chandrabhanu
4. Bhavayami Raghuramam (Sanskrit) Tala: Rupakam
Ragamalika: Saveri / Nata-Kuranji / Dhanyasi / Mohanam / Mukhari / Poorvi-Kalyani /Madhyamavati
In this grand composition the episodes of the Ramayana are highlighted in 7 verses. Pure dance is presented in jathis and swaras, while the abhinaya explores the various emotions and characters of the Ramayana epic. The dancer has to bring to life the roles of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Kaikeyi, Hanuman, Jatayu as well as the demonic Shurpanakha and Ravana.
Composer: Swathi Thirunal Jathis Choreography: Chandrabhanu
5. Ananda Natana Prakasham (Sanskrit) Raga: Kedaram Tala: Misra Chapu
One of the five songs in the Panchabhutalinga cycle of Muthuswamy Dhikshitar, this work in the haunting Kedara ragam focuses on the temple of Chidambaram where the Akasha Linga (Linga in the form of space) is worshipped. It is also the golden shrine of Nataraja (Lord of the Dance) and his Tandava dance of creation and destruction. The challenge for the dancer is to bring forth the rasa (emotional appeal) as well as the bhava (intellectual appeal) of the work.
Composer: Muthuswamy Dhishitar Jathis & Choreography: Chandrabhanu
6. Enna Thavam Seithanai (Tamil) Raga: Kapi Tala: Adi
Krishna is described here as a child adored by his mother Yashodha. She is the
luckiest of all women as she holds the godhead in her affectionate maternal
embrace. The dancer also enacts several episodes of
Composer: Papanasam Sivan Choreography: Veshnu
7. Javali : Nenetlu Saginthune (Telugu) Raga: Paras Tala: Adi
“How can I put up with all this nonsense, O friend ! He loves that other woman who is my neighbour! And he comes here and describes her attributes to me ! Look, he’s there now in her house dallying with her! How can I tolerate all this?” : thus laments the young maiden in this Javali.
Composer: Dharmapuri Subbarayar Choreography: Chandrabhanu
8. Thillana Raga: Simhendra-Madhyamam Tala: Adi
exposition of joyous pure dance, the Thillana concludes a Bharata-Natyam
program in a dynamic display of beautiful movements and rhythms. At the end of
the dance a benediction is sung in praise of
Dr Chandrabhanu’s illustrious career as a professional dance artist spans over thirty years of creative and pioneering work. His charismatic presence, the mystical depth and strength he exudes on stage, as well as his ability to communicate his art to the audience, has given him the status of being a stirring, dynamic and magical artist of the theatre. His great skill, eloquence, style and elegance are combined with depth and intellect to produce a unique artistry blending the elements of aesthetics, mysticism and scholarship. A consummate performer with the extraordinary power to turn sensuousness into a spiritual experience, he nevertheless is an intellectual pioneer, ploughing effortlessly through philosophies globally, and within this to place Indian Dance in a highly rigorous intellectual context. Yet when he is on stage he makes the audience feel so intimately familiar with his persona, so accessible to the inner spirit that his communication of the soul of his dance becomes a natural transformation experience for the spectator. He has performed to high acclaim in India, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, USA, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
Chandrabhanu’s partnership with Geoffrey Goldie (b. 1921 – d. 2007) has produced a unique blend of art, dance and aesthetics in a holistic manner. Geoffrey Goldie was the man who inspired him and shared with him the passion for artistic expression. Their joint artistic visions and creativity have manifested into one of the most marvellous unprecedented arts experience. He is an equally inspired and visionary guru to his hundreds of dance disciples. In 1973 he established the Chandrabhanu Bharatalaya Academy in Melbourne. The academy has become a highly dynamic cultural and community centre, and now includes the departments of Odissi, Kathak, Carnatic music, Hindustani, Odissi music and mrdangam studies. To date Chandrabhanu has presented 108 students in their Bharata-Natya and Odissi arangetrams (solo debut recital). In addition the Academy has produced several mrdanga arangetrams since 2003, and the first Veena arangetram in 2007. In 1986 Chandrabhanu established the Bharatam Dance Company, a fully professional dance ensemble supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and the Victorian Ministry for the Arts. The Company functioned for 15 years, until 2000, and toured Australia and internationally. Chandrabhanu produced over 40 full-length new works and original productions in the Bharata-Natyam, Odissi and cross-cultural contemporary genres. In its time the Company contributed to the development of dance in Australia from a multi-cultural perspective, and created a professional career pathways in dance for artists from non-English speaking backgrounds in Australia. In 1984, Chandrabhanu initiated a Dance-in-Education outreach-touring program, which took the Company to thousands of schools and communities throughout urban and regional Australia. This program gave unprecedented access to Asian dance and theatre to students and communities, who otherwise would have very little contact with Asian cultures.
In 2006 he
established Jambudvipa, a production company to undertake a diversity of dance
and music presentations. Chandrabhanu has been artistic director of several
community dance projects, including those for the City of Melbourne
and the City of Fairfield (Sydney). He has been artist-in-residence at
several universities and held two fellowships at UNIMAS, Sarawak, Malaysia.
He was a member of the Australia Council Dance Committee for three years. More
recently he has been invited to teach at the National Arts Academy of Malaysia
in Kuala Lumpur.
In addition he presents papers and lectures regularly for several arts
organizations and at university seminars. Chandrabhanu was a recipient of the
prestigious Monash University Graduate Scholarship and holds a Doctor of
Philosophy degree (1981) in Social Anthropology. He was awarded the Order of
Australia Medal by the Australian Government on Queen’s Birthday 2006, for his
services to Indian Classical Dance and the promotion of Multicultural Arts.
On a personal note, he is widely travelled, is an excellent gourmet cook, enjoys Indian and Asian classical music, and possesses a large and valuable collection of traditional textiles and woven fabrics.