Bharatanatyam is considered to be a fire-dance — the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. The dance form is the manifestation of the ancient idea of the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the material body. It has two aspects—lasya, the graceful feminine lines and movements, and tandava, the masculine dance of Shiva.
Arno Kamolika, a talented Bharatanatyam dancer of Bangladesh now residing in Canada for higher studies, performed in a solo dance recital at National Art Gallery auditorium of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on February 12. At present Arno is taking lessons on Bharatanatyam from Joy Govinda in Canada. All the featured dance pieces were also choreographed by him.
Arno set off the dance recital with “Durga-stuti”, a eulogising visual poetry to Devi Durga. The artiste gracefully portrayed devotional dance mudras, set on a classical song “Kalyan Sundareshwari”. Arno's aesthetic showcasing of dance movements seemingly won hearts of many connoisseurs.
Four young artistes –Lima, Jesika, Swachi and Shraboni – were next to take the stage dancing to a dhrupad ang song. The performance was artistically balanced with regard to the dancers' throwing of mudras.
Arno did justice to her next offerings titled “Navarasa” that forms the basis of Rasa-abhinaya in Indian classical dances including Bharatanatyam. The artiste beautifully conveyed emotions through a variety of facial expressions and hand gestures while blossoming the nine rasas—sringara (amour), hasyam (mirth), karunam (pathetic), raudram (furious), viram (heroic), bhayanakam (terrible), bibhatsam (odious), adbhutham (wonder) and santam (tranquility).
As ode to Spring, Arno Kamolika next performed “Ashtapadi”. Based on Joydeb's epic poem “Geeta Govinda”, the performance featured Krishna's celebrating the season of flowers and colours in various moods and gestures with awaiting gope-gopinis in absence of Radha.
Later, Arno superbly acted out three sagas setting out in a Mira Bhajan. The artiste performed the piece in pristine styles enthralling the audience in unending rapt. The dancer took on numerous characters by switching roles through the swift turn in circle, creating a storyline. Artistic light designing with soothing music created a blissful ambience.
And last but not the least—Arno Kamolika performed “Tillana”, a brisk, lively number generally presented towards the end of a solo recital. Based on Raga “Mohonkalyani” and taal “Adi”, the pure dance form mesmerised the audience. Arno's fast footwork coupled with an embellished returning to shom cast a lasting spell on the minds of the many revered audiences, that included eminent cultural personality Dr. Sanjida Khatun, mime maestro Partha Pratim Majumder, Poet Nurul Huda and Arno's father Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor of Bangladesh Bank.
The event, arranged by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), was a rare treat to the performing arts. BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky thanked and blessed Arno and requested Dr. Sanjida Khatun and Partha Pratim Majumder to present bouquets to the featured artiste.
“The hard form of dance that Arno showcased effortlessly today reminds me of the solo Bharatnatyam presentation by Leela Samsan held at Bangladesh National Museum years ago. For me, Arno has surpassed the artistic expressions that Leela showcased on that day. I am blessing Arno from my core of heart,” said Dr. Sanjida Khatun.
Arno was baptised in dance at Chhayanaut under the tutelage of guru Sharmila Bandopadhyay. Completing her courses on Bharatanatyam and Manipuri from Chhayanaut, she joined the cultural school as teacher in 2002. Arno also received taleem from eminent Indian dance guru Padmabhushan Professor CD Chandrashekhar. The artiste has so far performed on illuminated stages in USA, Canada and several countries of Europe.