Aharyam is an integral part of classical dance, which is as important if not more than the abhinayam and angikam. Each of the classical art forms has its unique costume, however, as the senior dancers explore more and more themes to expand their dance repertoire, so too are the costumes and jewellery that are being reinvented to make the classical dance performance a wholesome experience.
And contributing to this is the dancer herself and the costume designer with sensibilities and innate understanding of the dance form. Dance Guru and Bharatanatyam dancer of repute Ananda Shankar celebrates 40 years of her dance school, ShankaranandaKalakshetra through a special exhibition ‘Aharya Darpanam’ curated by fashion designer Ganesh Nallari (who is also a classical dancer and designs costumes for dance) and photographer Murlidhar Gonugunta at Kalakriti Art Gallery in Hyderabad.
It is an interesting display of pictures of her stage performances – ballets with her team, solo dance programmes etc., Alongside the pictures are the costumes completing the story of the four decades of her dance. The exhibition in addition to being a nostalgic revisit of the past for the dancer and her students, some, who continue to pursue dance, and others who moved on, dance critics who have seen the journey and wrote about it and her backstage team; is also a mirror to the evolution of the young dancer and the dance itself adapting technology in stagecraft and techniques of costume designing.
During the launch of the show, Ananda Shankar felicitated her team of stage designers, costume designers, tailors, photographers, sound and light technicians – in short, behind the scenes heroes that play a significant role in a successfully rendered stage performance.