The Dance of Trees -2
It is the dance of trees, their poetry that inspired my sister Swaati and me to create a dance moment on ‘trees in Indian classical dance’. We danced dances where the trees set the mood - Mango tree was the minister of vasant ritu, as the koel came to sing on it, and its fruit and blossoms spread a rich fragrance. In this environment on a full moon night, sakhi urges Radha to go meet Krishna near the banks of the Yamuna river. No mango tree has looked the same to me ever since I learnt this dance. In spring I go up and smell the leaves and blossoms of every mango tree I find, wondering when the koel bird will come and enjoy its rasa!
In another dance, the Jamun tree became the playground for Krishna and his friends to relish jamuns while climbing its branches and shaking every branch with merry abandon. As they climb trees and feast on the jamun, Krishna sees Radha coming, and discreetly motions to her to meet near the river. Full of joy, pranks and secret meetings, this mood of Radha-Krishna is truly celebrated in the Jamun tree setting.
In another jewel like dance by Guru Surendra Nath Jena called ‘Brahm Maya’ , the universe is compared to an inverted tree. This philosophy of the Upanishads, reminds us that the world is an inverted tree, and as we enjoy the fruits and flowers, the roots of this tree are up above, connected with the real divine world. Odissi to me, is this beautiful tree that connects the realms of the earthly and spiritual, delighting in both, celebrating the body and the spirit, finding a lit-up union of the bhogi and the yogi within.