With sensual eyes and body movements, Arushi Mudgal is flowering beautifully as a soloist.RUPA SRIKANTH

In a matter of 50 minutes or so, Odissi dancer Arushi Mudgal, daughter of well-known musician, Madhup Mudgal, and niece and disciple of Odissi dancer Madhavi Mudgal, won over the Chennai audience. It was difficult not to be bowled over by her enthusiasm and vivacity. Odissi may be a grounded style like Bharatanatyam, but the style revels in its subtlety. This, Arushi brought out to a T.

While there was strength in the chauka and the torso movements and footwork, they were complemented by soft and sensual movements of the neck and eyes.

Here is a young dancer who seems to have found her space; she is flowering beautifully as a soloist and should mature into a torchbearer of the dance tradition. Arushi's performance had one more attraction and that was Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra's choreographies. The Sankarabaranam pallavi in Ek taali (four beats), one of the most popular melodies in Odissi, had crisp sequences in threes and fours, building up the pace towards the end, resulting in a delectable combination of movement and melody.

The veteran's choreographies of the abhinaya pieces were as delectable. ‘Yahi Madhava' (Hindustani Bhairavi, Jayadeva) was cleverly layered with Radha's angry outburst and Krishna's ridiculous explanations that upset Radha further. Her anger turned to hurt at His glib-tongued betrayal. The scene for this conversation was set with sensitivity, when Radha was pictured waiting all night for Krishna, her enthusiastic greeting that turned to anger when she saw His state of dishevelment. The muted background alaap was most expressive in this exercise.

The Oriyan Champu piece where every line begins with the same syllable ‘kh' described a friend making fun of Radha for falling in love with ‘the biggest snake of all' Krishna. Peppered with short nritta passages, the composition shone with the sakhi's lively mockery.

With the support of a thick bamboo bansuri, Srinivas Satpathy's melodies were a treat as were Manikuntala Bhowmick's flexible music and Jeetendra Kumar Swain's softly intoned bols and accurate pakhawaj play. This performance had the stamp of class alright.

Keywords: OdissiArushi Mudgal