Clean lines, subtlety and mastery over rhythm were the order of the day

Guru C.V. Chandrasekhar’s Bharatanatyam performance for Sarasa Natya Mala at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, was remarkable not just for his precision in action but also for the deeply instilled reverence he showed for the art. One could hardly find any gimmicks or fanfare in the dancing, where austere lines and aesthetic communication ruled. The veteran teacher is held in high regard for his expertise in music, dance and composing and the performance validated his creativity to be a sum of all the parts.

Crisp jatis

CVC began with a viruttam penned by Varaguna Pandian dedicated to Lord Siva and Goddess Uma and without pausing launched into the famous Sankarabharanam varnam ‘Manavi.’ The twist here was the adoption of the nayika bhava to address Lord Brihadeeswara. Succinct jatis delivered with aplomb by daughter-disciple Manjari Chandrasekhar, were performed by the maestro conforming to the grammar of the art. Mandi adavus, thei hath thei heis and other alphabets in the pure dance vocabulary were offered with devotion.

Corresponding to skill in pure dance, he captured a delicate picture of the heroine. With a slight tilt of the torso and a fractional rearrangement of the facial muscles, the veteran artist communicated the anxiety of the lady who beseeched the Lord to hear her message of love. The varnam also included descriptions of the inner shrine and the temple tank of the Big Temple as well as its spiritual connotations. The delineation was one where subtlety and mastery over rhythm were the order of the day.

The technique of emotional engagement with a divinity took on further dimensions for the Kshetrayya padam in a mellow Anandabhairavi. Closely followed for each phrase by vocalist Hariprasad, the guru welcomed Lord Krishna ‘on this auspicious day’ for ‘Manchi Dinamu.’ Although overtly a Samanyanayika, the truth within the kernel showed her to be an exalted soul who cared not for worldly considerations. The measured depiction eschewed cloying shows of feminine demeanour and stayed close to the devotee’s plea which transcends physical labels.

Thillana in Paras with alternate graceful and fast moves was a pristine touch.

Other members of the talented orchestra were T. Viswanathan on the mridangam, T. K. Padmanabhan on the violin and E. Devaraj on the flute.

The performance was part of the second year annual dance festival organised by K. Shanmughasundaram of Sarasalaya to honour the memory of late Guru K. J. Sarasa.