Vijay Palaparty seemed equally at ease with both Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam, though it was vague.
When dancer Vijay Palaparty declared his statement of intent of revisiting his gurus’ choreographies, learnt in the past, one empathised with the thought of looking at them afresh with ‘new’ eyes. But why did he choose to present both Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam pieces alternately, without so much as a by-your-leave? It was confusing and uncomfortable to have to second guess what was coming next.
There is no doubt about Vijay’s credentials as a dancer - he is expressive, agile and has a reasonably good sense of time and music. He is a disciple of Guru Uma Rao in Kuchipudi and of Guru Professor Sudharani Ragupathy in Bharatanatyam. He seemed equally at ease with both genres, though there might be a bias towards Bharatanatyam.
The opening pieces were high energy, whether it was the ragamalika, talamalika Balamurali pushpanjali, ‘Jhem Jhem’ (Kuchipudi) or the Varali Jatiswaram (Adi, Madurai N. Krishnan). They left the fully clothed -Vijay pouring sweat. Dehydration perhaps led to a dizzy spell in the Varnam, when the dancer had to take a break to get his bearing. He blames the light grid though at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan that uses mostly front lighting, and more dangerously, at eye level.
The most eye-catching and melodious was the Thodi varnam, ‘Maaye Maayan Sodhariye’ (Adi, Madurai N. Krishnan). The rhythmic excitement was one aspect and the interesting interpretation quite another. Literally translated, the pallavi addressed ‘the Mother of Cosmic Illusion and the sister of Lord Vishnu,’ alluding to Meenakshi. Instead of the regular form, the portrayal was of Yoga-Maya who escapes from Kamsa’s brutality. The reference point was Vishnu, and this continued into the anupallavi, wherein ‘Paramanin’ meaning ‘of Lord Siva’ was taken as a generalisation of any god taking an avatara, and in this case, Krishna. Creative liberty was also taken in the charanam, ‘Sringara Sruti Laya Bhavame’ to accommodate the expansion of the word ‘bhava’ as ‘Sringara Navarasa Bhavame.’
Dancer-teacher Padma S. Raghavan (nattuvangam) lead the orchestral team diligently with percussionist Dhananjayan’s steady support. The expert melodists were: G. Srikanth (vocal), Kandadevi S. Vijayaraghavan (violin) and B. Muthukumar (flute), who lifted the programme out of the ordinary.