Dancer-scholar Sucheta Chapekar on how she designed a repertoire based mostly on Marathi songs
Sucheta Bhide Chapekar was simply one other Maharashtrian Bharatanatyam aspirant in Bombay within the Nineteen Sixties, when her guru Acharya Parvati Kumar found to his delight a e-book of Marathi songs, Korvaiyache Sahithyache Jinnas, written by King Serfoji II. The songs have been composed in Carnatic fashion, however with out notation. In her teenagers then, Sucheta recollects being a part of this pleasure. Throughout her arangetram, two items, alarippu and jatiswaram, have been from totally different nirupanas within the e-book. She learnt about 30 songs from her guru.
“In 1969, we offered all 18 items of a Nirupana for the primary time in Bombay, and in 1972 we have been invited to the Music Academy Sadas by Dr. V. Raghavan. Journalist V.V. Prasad and NCPA’s Dr. Narayanan Menon have been of nice help,” says Sucheta.
Drawn to delve deeper into this sahitya, Sucheta says that whereas everybody knew the struggle historical past, nobody knew the cultural historical past of the Bhonsle kings, who dominated 300 years in the past in Thanjavur. In 1972, she obtained a grant and went to the Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur, a treasure home of manuscripts, to review additional. “I took up King Shahaji II’s compositions; I discovered palm-leaf and paper manuscripts of impartial compositions and prabandhas, a dance opera like Yakshagana, with totally different sorts of darus and padas in Marathi, however all weren’t in Devanagari script. The palm-leaf manuscripts have been in Telugu.”
The dancer needed to study the Telugu script, however fortunately there have been Telugu pandits there to assist. “I sat for such lengthy hours there I nonetheless bear in mind the odor of the library,” she says. Compositions just like the Salamu Daru in reward of various deities had info on the swara prayogas of ragas widespread at the moment (Soratha, Ghantarava, and so forth). It was additionally evident that these have been carried out in temples as ritualistic dances.
King Shahaji’s darus have been rhythmic musical compositions, with sollus, swaras and sahitya. The padas solely had lyrics — shringara padas, bhakti padas, vairagya padas, and so forth.; and the language used was previous Marathi, together with Sanskrit and Tamil.
Distinctive line up
“I wanted somebody with an genuine data of classic compositions and ragas to assist me compose the items. I had met the revered Guru Kittappa Pillai, a musicologist and a descendent of the Thanjavur Quartet, at Acharya Parvathi’s home. Once I approached him, he readily agreed to assist.”
Hailing from Thanjavur, Kittappa Pillai knew conventional dance items and uncommon ragas, and was even conscious of the existence of a Marathi repertoire. “He composed the nritta a part of the Shahaji items; the sahitya half he left to me,” says Sucheta. “I’ve retained his nritta compositions within the abhinaya darus, jakkini darus, theermanams, and so forth. He was an incredible proponent of the vilamba kala nritta; I’ve tailored that into my fashion, as I understood the great thing about strains unfolding step by step.”
Dr. Raghavan launched the dancer to Sangita Saramrutha, written by Shahaji’s brother Tulaja, which mentions the adavu sampradaya, establishing its existence 300 years in the past. In 1974, Sucheta carried out on the Music Academy. She included eight compositions from Shahaji’s Thanjavur Nritya Prabandha.
After marriage, Sucheta moved to Pune and carried out in small cities throughout Maharashtra, the place she discovered that nobody had even heard of Bharatanatyam. Using Marathi songs didn’t assist as they have been rendered within the Carnatic fashion. “To make my artwork accessible, I began performing Natya Sangeet songs from Marathi theatre,” she says. The primary track she choreographed was ‘Tandav Nrutya Kari Gajaanana,’ a Marathi invocation.
In 1985, Sucheta additionally choreographed Bharatanatyam items set to Hindustani music, calling them Nritya Ganga. It was to show these items that she arrange Kalavardhini with like-minded artistes.
Sucheta believes in creative individuality fairly than categorising classical as conventional and modern as artistic. “Classical can will let you be at your artistic greatest whereas typically the modern will be mundane. That you must perceive aesthetic values in keeping with the time and house,” she says.
The Chennai-based creator writes on classical dance.