Yuwa Yokota’s Bharatanatyam is ‘just-so,’ i.e., exactly as it is meant to be. Not clinical but correct -- the difference being that the former does not have heart whereas the latter does. One can see that Yuwa’s every move came from understanding, experiencing and identifying with the culture and tradition behind it.
She is Japanese, a theatre artist who was drawn to Bharatanatyam on a visit to India. Besides her training in Japan, she has been learning in Chennai under dancer-teacher A. Lakshman, and is at present training with dancers N. Srikanth and Priyadarsini Govind (for abhinaya).
The recital was a coming together of good choreography and excellent execution. One was impressed with Srikanth’s choreography of the varnam (‘Angayarkanni,’ ragamalika, Adi, Lalgudi Jayaraman) in which he played with speeds in the pure dance segments. In the opening trikalam, for example, within the vilamba kaala step he inserted faster-paced steps in a contrasting gati. He carried the same filler concept in the next korvai, with chatusram steps and tisram fillers. And after a fiery post-charanam jati, the speed suddenly dropped in the chittaswaras. This slow pace inadvertently served to bring out the beauty in the music.
The lyrics centred on Meenakshi and her reactions to Shiva and his leelas. The navarasas unfolded smoothly in brief but clear cut scenes. The dancer is a good actor and so her role play had no blurred edges. Of them, sringara was the most sensitive. However, one was not sure of the efficacy of adding the rasa name at the end of the lines as it seemed to interfere with the rhythm of the music.
The Saindhavi javali, ‘Itu Sahasamulu’ (Swati Tirunal) brought out the dancer’s maturity. As a young girl she tries to convince Padmanabha that she is not yet ready for his advances. The character required Yuwa to be playful, yet mindful of her friendship and respect for the nayaka. This she did with maturity.
Yuva’s clean nritta, commendable azhuttam and confident delineation were well-supported by N.Srikanth (nattuvangam) who led her with involvement and authority. Vedakrishnan (mridangam) gave unobtrusive support. Nandini Anand’s (vocal) melodious voice was enjoyable most of the time while Kandadevi S.Vijayaraghavan (violin) impressed with his consistent form.