“To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak”. This quote rang so true this Sunday at the Manch Pravesh of Diya & Risa D’souza. The St. Andrews auditorium in Bandra was enveloped in an ethereal glow as onlookers witnessed the beginning of new journey for Diya and Risa as they took to the stage. A culminating event for students of Odissi dance, Manch Pravesh is an honour that students receive after several years of dedication to the art of Odissi. Disciples of Smt. Mitali Raul, the duo were introduced to Odissi at the tender age of 4. Balancing an iron fist with a velvet glove, their guru and mother, Mitali kept the girls to a gruelling schedule for months leading up to the event, moulding them like a fine sculptor. Mitali herself is one of the senior most students of Smt. Jhelum Paranjpe, the lauded danseuse.
Aptly titled “Samara” (accompanied by the divine), the 3 hour long program started off with an invocation to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Saraswati. Diya & Risa commenced the program by seeking the blessings of their gurus, rasikas and the almighty. From the minute they walked on stage, one could notice the unmistakable miasma of divinity that seem to surround the duo as they wove beautiful poetry through their performance.
Each item was painstaking choreographed, doing complete justice, not only to their dancing styles, but also to who they are individuals. Both rendered the audience speechless during the Battu which is one of the most challenging pieces of pure nritta. In contrast to the intensity of the Battu, the softer pieces where Diya portrayed a lovelorn Radha and Risa captured the sacred bond between a mother and child were a visual treat.
Creativity was on full display as the event progressed with the concluding pieces of “Ekla Chalo” and “Moksha” where the girls held the audience in their thrall through their energy and grace, as their proud guru watched on from the wings.
“I truly felt that I was watching magic in motion when I witnessed the girls on stage. Diya and Risa looked like divine shakti incarnate as they fully committed to each and every expression and step”, said Smt. Jhelum Paranjpe as she applauded the girls with much gusto.
As Diya and Risa took a final bow, there were misty-eyes, fervent prayers and wishes upon clouds, amidst the resounding applause, as they begin their professional journey as Odissi dancers.
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