“Unveiling the love story of Radha and Krishna.”
Braj as a region has many mythological and religious connotations attached to it. In Hindu beliefs, it is one of the most important places of pilgrimage. Mathura is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna. In Brajbhoomi, the love of Radha-Krishna blossomed, the stories of their eternal love are very prominent in all the art forms of Braj. To witness such a dance form, the team contacted Monica Tomar, the lead dancer of the Mayur Nritya Dance Group. Mayur Nritya draws its inspiration from the ethereal episodes of love between Radha and Krishna. This dance form has its origin in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh.
The story narrates that Radha was grieving for the love of her beloved Lord Krishna in separation. Seeing Radha in such pain, Lord Krishna decides to console her by the sight of peacocks, whose feathers Krishna wears on his crown. Mayur Nritya is a very vibrant and colourful dance form and engrosses one immediately in its charm. The dance form has a beautiful blend of Birth Ras and Shringar Ras. The dance form involves magnificent dramatic characteristics and facial expressions apart from its graceful dancing moves. Witnessing Mayur Nritya for the first time, the audience can sense how the beautiful love stories of Radha & Lord Krishna are strongly engraved in the hearts of the people and the artists here in Braj. And the strong devotion that every artist shares for their art form is so evident in their performances.
Monica Tomar is a classically trained dancer and is currently in her 6th year of Kathak. Apart from doing stage shows, she also teaches dance in Dr RM Shah Global Public School. Though she does all forms of folk dances of Braj, Mayur Nritya and Charkula nritya hold a special place in her heart. Her dance group specializes in Mayur Nritya & Charkula nritya and involves very dedicated and devoted artists. These artists are trying their best to pursue their passion as a full-time profession. The dancers in the group exhibit a performance quality, valued for their artistry. Shika, who played the character of Radha Rani skillfully, communicated and interpreted the ideas of her despair from being away from her beloved in her given movement vocabulary she captivated everyone.
Their group is highly appreciated by their audience because of their visuals. It can end disbelief by communicating ideas through emotions. Their dance is beautifully accompanied by a group of musicians, led by Sachin Brijwasi, who is a folk and bhajan singer of great repute. They sang rasiyas like “tohe mor baanake naachaungi man mohan baansi dhaare.” Their melodies beautifully encompassed the story of the love between Lord Krishna and Radha. How Lord Krishna, with his eagerness to please his beloved, transforms into a peacock and dances.
The music group also has equally experienced Shyam Goswami, 38, a manjira player and chorus singer, and Sourav Kaushik, who plays with all his heart. For tabla, the group has the very young and vividly talented Vikash Nagar, who is just 16 years old. Interestingly, he came along with his father once to watch the groups’ performance but ended up putting on a splendid performance by himself. India is so blessed to have such skilled artist and is indeed a matter of great pride that we belong to a country with amazing and unique cultures and forms to exhibit.
Apart from performing the traditional way, she is also given credits for choreographing Braj Vandana, Makhan Leena, Charkhula. At the age of 38, she has already established herself to be a prolific dancer with no doubts, but she’s blessed with a philanthropic heart. She has been very instrumental in teaching dance to young dancers from the marginalized sections of the society, and once they get to imbibe the art well, she makes them a part of the group and carries them along for her performance. “Dance is my lifeline, and whatever I have achieved, it became possible only because of dance. I want to dedicate my life to dance and wish to keep performing till my last breath.”
Saying this she and her group gave a dazzling performance on:
“Ek din shri kunwar raadhika mor kuti aai,
(One day, Krishna and Radha came to the peacock garden)
Mor wahan ekhu naay paaye
(But they didn’t find any peacock there)
Jaan priyaa man utkuntha prabhu”
(Radha got worried as Krishna was upset)