The music of Gita Govinda for dance
One of the most exciting aspects of Dance and Music India being held together is the opportunity it gives both students and teachers to come together and share ideas.
Over lunch, Anil Srinivasan (Pianist and Music India Tutor) discovered that Madhavi Mudgal (Odissi Tutor at Dance India) was teaching a piece to her students from the Gita Govinda which he had worked on with vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan. Anil suggested he work with the Odissi students for one session and dissect the song from a musical and lyrical point of view -Madhavi immediately agreed. A deeper musical understanding would strengthen the dancers portrayal of the song.
The session went beyond music into the beautiful complexities of sanskrit poetry and Hindu mythology, discussions about masculine and feminine energies, prakriti (nature) and samskriti (culture) and even the five stages of surrender. Anil also explained the reasoning behind why certain ragas and rhythmic patterns have been created they way they have for compositions taken from the Gita Govinda.
The Gita Govinda is a volume of poems about Lord Krishna (Govinda) by 12th century poet Jayadeva. A great majority of the Odissi repertoire is taken from the Gita Govinda and rightly so – the work contains multitudes of beautiful poetry containing layers of deep intellectual, emotional and spiritual philosophy ultimately describing and explaining man’s complex and deep relationship with God.
Needless to say, the Odissi students left the session feeling invigorated with new found inspiration for their piece.