Vijayaratnam Foundation and Kalpana Dance Theatre presented Dasavatar, a traditional Bharatanatyam dance drama, from 4-6 March 2010.The show was organised to raise funds for Taarana, (link to Taarana page) Vijayaratnam Foundation’s centre for children with learning disabilities. To demonstrate her love for children, and her passion to make the school a successful initiative, Datin Umayal Eswaran, Chairperson of VF, donned her anklets after a hiatus of 15 years, to perform in Dasavatar alongside Kalpana founder, Shangita Namashivayam and many other renowned international dancers.

Dasavatar is based on the 10 earthly incarnations of Lord Vishnu, and the entire show was a mesmerising display of a key point in each avatar’s tale.

The dynamic choreography by Chennai-based dancer Gayathri Balagurunathan, and the energetic movements and expressions of the dancers, accompanied by the voice of veteran Carnatic vocalist O.S Arun, deemed Dasavatar a sure treat to the senses.

Main Puteri

The Main Puteri is among the most indigenous theatrical forms found in the north eastern Malaysian state of Kelantan. Incorporating elements of drama, dance and music, it encapsulates and expresses principal belief systems of the traditional Kelantanese worldview. Main Puteri is considered a form of local psychotherapy and is often performed to cure patients suffering from emotional illness. In the Kelantanese worldview, such illnesses are due either to a loss of semangat (life-essence) or an imbalance of angin (inner wind) within a patient’s body.  The principal figures in a Main Puteri performance are the tok puteri and tok minduk. Musical accompaniment includes the rebab (Malay spike fiddle), gendang (double-headed drum), tetawak (gong) and serunai (Malay oboe).

Vijayaratnam Foundation has collaborated with cultural organisation PUSAKA to revitalise the Main Puteri performance tradition of Kelantan. The project involves training a group of young people in the Main Puteri tradition, extensive audio-visual and written documentation and aims to provide urban youth with an opportunity to encounter, experience and engage with the Main Puteri tradition in order to appreciate and understand the diversity, resplendence and wealth of Malaysia’s cultural legacy.