Well-known teacher and choreographer Anita Guha is known for her luminous group productions in Bharatanatyam presented with superb showmanship. Her student Aishwarya Narayanaswamy's performance at R.K. Swamy auditorium was no exception to this viewpoint where her innate talent was showcased with polish and allure.
Pushpanjali in Arabhi by Balamuralikrishna revealed Aishwarya's confidence levels and served as a warm up to the ensuing numbers. A virutham in Behag served as a preview of the varnam ‘Velanidam Poi Solladi’ in Vachaspati. This composition by veteran T. Sethuraman also boasted of jatis set by maestro Muthuswamy Pillai and his son Selvam.
Anita Guha on the cymbals and Roshni Ganesh's music offered a enviable base for the dancer to display her skill. The jatis were choreographed with the intent to impress, the character echoing the sensuousness of the Kuchipudi style. Competently performed adavus, ample covering of the stage space and excellent araimandi were plus points for the young dancer.
Aishwarya used her lovely eyes to good effect in both the pure dance and emoting. The nayika requesting her sakhi to mediate favourably for her love for Lord Muruga formed the theme of the varnam. While both bhava and rhythm found balance, the brief cameos offered did not compensate for the conventional explorations via lengthy sancharis. Perhaps this was intentionally done to highlight the dancer's strength in abhinaya. Sagacious programme planning meant that after sringara bhava in the varnam, the dancer focussed on vatsalya and bhakti in the next numbers. The popular Tamil lyric in Thodi ‘Thaye Yasodha’, ‘Illai Illai Amma’ in Mohanam and ‘Pesadae Pongadi’ in Madhyamavati were the pieces where Aishwarya excelled. Indeed the liveliness and sense of identification of the dancer in these numbers made this the centrepiece as opposed to the varnam which veered towards razzle-dazzle. The impudent Krishna, the indignant gopikas and the mother staunchly refusing to entertain any complaints against her darling son, were good sketches by Aishwarya.
If Siva can be gently awakened by Manickavachakar's ‘Tirupalliezhichi’, why not a special lullaby for the three eyed Lord? The insightful dance composition by Anita Guha was built upon the concept by dancer Zakir Husain and the words of Revathy Sankkaran. This song in Kurinji ended piquantly with dual currents of bhakti and maternal pride. The taking away of Siva's drum, fire and trident to enable the baby to sleep and then returning them for the hoary verses of Manickavachakar were savvy devices that enhanced interest. Revathy Sankkaran's dedicated imagination made the transition from the sleeping state to the awakening of The Lord seamless and credible.
A vibrant tillana in Purnachandrika brought the curtains down on this talented dancer’s recital.