Text: Paul Nicodemus
Sharda Sangeet Vidyalaya, a premier institute propagating Indian Classical Music, Dance, Theatre and Yoga celebrated its 91st ‘Gurupurnima Utsav and Annual Prize Distribution Function’ with a five day festival of Indian Classical and Western music and Indian Classical Dance and Yoga from August 1 to 5 in Pt. VD Paluskar Auditorium at its campus in Bandra East, Mumbai.
Students of all age groups showcased their talent and skill to delight both teachers and the gathered audience alike. Day one saw the western music performances by the students and day two, which I witnessed belonged to Indian Classical dances, Bharatanatyam and Kathak. Both dance forms were performed to live music.
The evening was divided into two parts of Bharatanatyam and Kathak laced by a felicitation ceremony in between. In the first segment, students trained by Bharatanatyam artiste and teacher Shamal Pawar performed to live music accompaniment quite brilliantly. Performances were both promising and inspiring. The musical accompaniment was provided by Sheetal Subramaniam on Vocals, Shamal Pawar on Nattuvangam, Manas Kumar on Violin and Prajesh Nair on Mridangam. The dance recitals by the students were an offering to their guru Shamal and they did a commendable job.
In the second half, students of Harshada Jambekar, a seasoned Kathak artiste and teacher turned the arena into a darbar. They transformed themselves into artistic and aesthetic storytellers to honour their teacher. It was a beautiful sight to watch – a treat for the eyes.
The performers (students) who offered their offerings through dance were, Tanmayee Pendulkar, Dia Suvarna, Mrunmayee Nagdive, Sumanjali Nune, Jahnavi Deshpande, Shruthi Kurma, Siya Salunkhe, Bhumika Kumavat, Vedika Thorat, Sara Maiti, Kastoori Shinde, Krutaghnata, Sharvi, Ananya, Namrata, Saanvi Ramesh, Kanishka, Shriya and Vanya Kumar.
During the felicitation ceremony, Suresh Narang, Hon. President and Managing Trustee of Sharda Sangeet Vidyalaya felicitated guests BR Vikram Kumar, Editor in Chief of The Dance India Magazine and Dhanashree Pandit Rai, a renowned Thumri Vocalist. Both the guests addressed the gathering and spoke about the importance of performing arts in the society. Vikram stressed on the benefits of having performing arts in the curriculum. Dhanashree emphasised the role of vocals and lyrics in a Kathak recital. On the same platform, students who achieved high grades in their academics were also recognised with mementoes. Teachers and accompanying musicians were honoured by the guests.
Sharda Sangeet Vidyalaya was established in the year 1927 by late Pta. Indirabai Rajaram Kelkar, a renowned disciple of Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. The main objective of the institution is to educate and propagate Indian Classical Music, Dance, Theatre and Yoga. In appreciation of the excellent service exhibited by the institution in the education of Indian Classical Music and Dance, The Government of Maharashtra allotted a plot of land at Bandra East in Mumbai. The two storied building with a basement and Nadabrahma Mandir was constructed at its own cost. It was inaugurated in the year 1996 at the auspicious hands of legendary Indian Classical Vocalist and Bharat Ratna awardee Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.
So far, 10,000 students have enrolled in the institution and have been groomed by a team of about 30 qualified and experienced staff members under the able guidance of Suresh Narang. The institution is affiliated to ABGMV Mandal, Miraj and it is one of the prime centres for conducting examinations up to the level of Bachelor’s degree (Visharad) and Master’s degree (Alankar).