Yashoda Thakore and her version of the temple dance impresses.
Keeping in vogue with the venue ‘La Makaan', Yashoda Thakore chose to present a brief but vintage Vilasini Natyam (temple dance). Like a true teacher, she propelled her young disciples on to the stage first with a group dance for a Bengali song, Ek la chalo penned by Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th year is being celebrated .
The temple repertoire was rather large but Yashoda thoughtfully showcased the most pivotal ones like the ‘Mejuvani' ‘Parijatam' not to talk of opening with the invocatory song-dance to the deity Vigna Vinashaka, dispeller of hurdles.
Her prelude for each item made it possible to attain greater appreciation for audience if not very well acquainted with this genre.
The sway and swing as she did her sancharis brought to light, the style that devadasis of yore must have adopted while dancing in the temples for the deity. The footwork as such did not display complexities and seemed simple yet structured. Nritta however, did not seem to be the stronghold of temple dance culture as such. Abhinaya was highly evolved as padams were supposed to have ruled the roost those days. As a sample, the dancer gave a glimpse into mejuvani where she squats on a foot-mat and speaks the entire song with her eyes and gestures.
Yashoda excelled as the khanditha nayika (an enraged beloved) as she gesticulated and transmitted varied emotions (bhava) in her expressions to the song, ye reethi bonkevu ra…
She conveyed disgust, displeasure, demand all the while, looking sardonic, intrigued, disillusioned and suspicious. Her emotions flitted across her countenance in quick succession.
She displayed a mature handling of a very rustic eroticism.
Parijatam was like a Kuchipudi Bhama Kalapam, in a slightly different garb. Satyabhama as envisaged by temple dancers or Yashoda, seemed coquettish in her bearing and behaviour with lyrics to match, while the Kuchipudi Bhama came out as proud yet dignified woman wanting to possess Lord Krishna. Footwork preceding each verse was fluid. The costume in cloud grey and blue went very well with the dancer. However, stage space constraint is a hindrance to classical dance shows and the absence of live orchestra was visibly felt, though there were no glitches in the recorded version.