The show was not uniformly inspiring, notwithstanding Sudharma’s talent.
As exciting as watching a bud bloom into a beautiful flower, is watching young dancers grow and mature as artists. Sudharma Vaidyanathan, disciple of dancer-teacher A. Lakshman, is one such young talent who is growing into a self-assured Bharatanatyam dancer. There is a fierce industriousness within her and the results are tangible - good definition in movements and accurate understanding of emotions in descriptive elaborations.
Sudharma’s recital for the seventh Dasyam Swati Nritholsavam Festival, however, rode on the choreographies she presented, all of which were not uniformly inspiring. The recital necessarily comprised only Maharaja Swati Tirunal’s compositions and K. Hariprasad (vocal) proved to be the bedrock on whose melody the entire edifice stood.
The orchestra’s invocation (Pari Paahi Ganaadhipa, Saveri, Adi) and the dancer’s invocation (Jaya Devaki Kishora, ragamalika, talamalika) were both Todayamangalam kritis that are sung before the Navarathri Mandapam concerts; the latter tuned by the vocalist in Malayamarutham, Varali, Saraswati and Ranjani ragas, kept the artists on razor’s edge as they negotiated changing melodies and rhythms. The subsequent sabdam (Sarasi Jakshulu, ragamalika, misra chapu) on Krishna was handled with efficiency. But after that, the energy in the recital nosedived.
Unimaginative and predictable choreography especially in ‘Paahi Parvathanandini’ (Arabhi, Adi) and in Bhajatha Murali (Patdeep, Rupaka) was the culprit. The recital became flat after a point so much so that even a well-sung and a well-executed ‘Sankara Sri Giri’ (Hamsanandi, Adi) could not help. Nellai D. Kannan (mridangam) did not disappoint. Though he played a restrained innings, he made space for some interesting finishes in the Arabhi composition and for fireworks in the Dhanashree thillana (Adi). The mesmerised gopis in the Patdeep piece got softer, almost-tabla like special treatment. Kalaiarasan (violin) accompanied Hariprasad tunefully all evening. Lakshman (nattuvangam) was a subdued guide.