Sutikshna Veeravalli’s Bharatanatyam, at Vani Mahal, impresses rasikas for the self-confidence that manifests through a methodical diligence in every step she takes and the abhinaya highlighted by her expressive eye movements and mobile facial expressions. Coupled with proficiency in Carnatic music this undergraduate student of University of Illinois, Chicago, is gifted in many ways.
Sutikshna performed her Bharatanatyam arangetram in the year 2009 and has presented several solo and group performances in the USA and India since then. Watching her perform the regular set of items for the Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha for their 33 Isai Iyal Nataka Vizha, one also admired her knowledge of rhythm. She has been trained for well over a decade by her mother Vanita Veeravalli, who is director, Bharatam Academy of Dance Arts, at Naperville, Chicago.
Footwork is crucial to Bharatanatyam, and since she accomplishes them so well, especially ones that alternate on both feet like the ‘dhith thith theys’ it is easy to forget that her right foot actions are accomplished by the prosthesis that is activated by the muscles of the knee and the ankle. Nor does the absence of the palm on the right hand hinder her as she proceeds with her bhava with a spontaneous delivery of emotions. As she puts it simply, “a deep love for the arts” is what makes the tough seem not just easy but endow it with the grace that the art calls for.
As was evident from her recital the dancer respected the demands of Bharatanatyam which was replete with all the movements associated with the art as well as the emotive displays. With Anita Veeravalli’s nattuvangam, the classical style was scrupulously maintained and equal emphasis was given to both tala and laya. The introductory kavuthuvam was followed by a varnam in Valachi, a composition by Subbudu (with swara patterns set by music maestro Balamuralikrishna). Dramatic episodes such as the story of Muruga appearing as an old man to win Valli’s hand were convincingly narrated. With the mood of devotion being brought in the ensuing Mira Bhajan and a happy dream being presented for Andal’s Vaaranam Aayiram, Sutikshna concluded with the tillanna in Behaag with a positive attitude that endured with one long after the recital.