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TriNethra: The Third Eye Festival – 2023

Suman Adisesh

TriNethra- The Third eye festival – 2023

Suman Adisesh
Creative Director of Spandha School of Dance and Creative Arts.

On November 4th 2023 New England dance lovers were subjected to a treat and that was the “TriNethra- The Third Eye Festival of Dance” that was conceived by none other than Jayshree Bala Rajamani who is a well-known Artist/Bharatanatyam Dancer in the New England area.  She is not only an amazing dancer but also a great teacher and choreographer.  She is the creative director of Bharathakalai School of Dance. Many of her students have presented their Arangetrams and taken part in several dance performances.  Jayshree herself is constantly innovating and creating new choreographies in her presentations. 

New England has a huge dance community and as part of this I can say there are very few teachers who strive towards promoting dance in the true sense.  For a huge community like ours we have very few dance festivals to present creative work.  Not many want to take the effort that goes behind organizing such festivals partly because it is a lot of physical work and secondly it is not financially lucrative.  Few opportunities we have, go to out of country artists.  I truly commend Jayshree for stepping up and taking a bold decision to curate a project like this.  One needs to be passionate towards art and equally generous.

TriNethra – The Third Eye festival of Dance is the celebration of Dance and Dancers.  It has been Jayshree’s vision to promote art by providing a platform to educate about not so well known dance forms, a platform for local artists, a platform for the younger generation of artists to showcase their creative work, and also acknowledge the work done by the senior artists.

After a pause of 3 three years due to covid, TriNethra was back this year with a bang.  Jayshree’s students began the presentation with a Mallari followed by an ode to Jesus. This was a very energetic number that set the stage for the rest of the show.  Dancers were Sathvika Gunturu, Anaya Joshi, Soni Kumar, Annette Varghese, Sayontika Bhattacharya, Anisha Dantam, Aditi Nagaraja, Ria Mukherjee, Mayari Bala Rajamani, Gauri Gajeshwar and Medha Morparia.


Guru Neena Gulati was honored for her contribution to the field of dance.  Deservedly so, she is a pioneer who popularized Indian Classical dance in the New England area.  She is the Founder/Artistic Director of Triveni School of Dance, the only one that offers education in three styles of Indian dance Bharathanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi. The school celebrated its 50th year in 2021 however Neenaji, as she is fondly called, has been dancing for over 70 years.

It was a very emotional moment to see Neenaji Perform with her students where she presented a Pallavi in all three styles of dance, she performed Odissi, and her students performed Kuchipudi and Bharathanatyam. The second composition performed by Neenaji was a Meera Bhajan “Jo tum todo piya” sung melodiously by Vani Jayaram. This brought back fond memories of yester years.  The finale was a performance of Balamurali Krishna’s Jaya Ragamalika Thillana by Neenaji with her daughter Rachna and granddaughter Rani.  It was overwhelming to see three generations coming together to dance.  The audience joined in the grand tribute paid to Neenaji for her service to dance and community.

BharathaKalai school presented another vibrant piece, Salaam Daru on Devi - “Mahishasura Mardini”. It was interesting to note that the concept of Islamic Salaam was incorporated to offer salutation to the mother goddess.  Our World is so much in need of peace, and this was a nice way to show the confluence of all religions to convey the concept of surrendering to the Supreme.

The Second act was a stupendous performance by the young Kuchipudi artists Kasi Aysola and Archana Raja. They brought in with them vibrance, energy and poise.  Although both of them are trained Bharathanatyam dancers they have expanded their training to Kuchipudi.  They explored both Nritta and Abhinaya dominant compositions as they presented Venuganaloluni, Manduka Sabdam, Saaramaina and Shivaashtakam all of this part of a very traditional Kuchipudi repertoire.  The final composition Shivaashtakam choreographed by Vempati Marster was a fitting finale to their grand performance.  Kasi and Archana had a mark of professionalism.  Well synchronized and very aesthetically presented.  Audience was mesmerized by their performance and definitely wanted more.  It was refreshing to see these youngsters’ making waves in their pursuit of a professional dancing career and also very motivating for the young dancers, showing them a path to pursue.

To set the stage for the grand finale Bharathakalai presented Dvijavathi Thillana- a composition of the legendary Balamurali Krishna.  The dancers retained the same energy we saw in the beginning and performed with great enthusiasm.  Kudos to Jayshree for her training.

The Final act was a performance by Sonali Skandan, Artistic Director of Jiva Performing Arts.  She is a trained Bharathanatyam dancer and currently mentoring under Maya Kulkarni.  Her dancing style was referred to as Shilpanatanam.  To me it resonated as a sculpture in motion.  When creativity springs off from research, the product is a work that touches one’s soul.  Sonali’s presentation showed her dedication to dance.  She was in excellent form, which showed her intensive training.  Each of the three compositions was well thought out and a lot of work was put into them in terms of movements, music, concept, research and costume.  Music complimented the concept, movements complimented the music and emotion came alongside music and movements.  It was overall a soul stirring performance.  She began with the ode to the Sun that sustains life.  This was followed by the effects of war on lovers whose love is torn apart due to war.  All that remains are memories.  Sonali did not hesitate to show the devastation of war in bare truth.  I’m sure this would’ve led to several questions and thoughts in one’s mind.  The final composition was a beautiful depiction of Goddess Durga “Jai Durge Mata” in all her majestic form showing both the destructive and generous side.  Kudos to Sonali on her brilliant presentation.  We need to see more such creative works.

Festivals like TriNethra need to happen more often as it is an investment in art which is so important for a community.   I wish all the artists would join to support such ventures by attending these festivals and encourage their students and friends to participate.  Hope is for these young dancers to get motivated and inspired and they take their training to the next level to create their own works.

Art is supposed to set you free and that can only happen if artists can appreciate and encourage each other’s creative work rather than just focusing on just theirs.  Hats off to Jayshree for pulling through another year of celebration.  We definitely look forward to seeing more in the years to come.  Wishing all the best to Jayshree and her school Bharathakalai.
Let us all celebrate dance and the dancers.  Happy Thanksgiving.

PC:  Kolam Media Creations

Artist Information:

Neena Gulati:  https://www.trivenidance.org

Kasi Ayasola & Archana Raja:  https://www.prakritidance.com

Sonali Skandan:  http://jivadance.org

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