Nandini Ganesan’s Bharatanatyam recital at Palghat Fine Arts Society showcased her talent and grace. The danseuse is the grand daughter of Bharatanatyam maestro Kaladasan Mani, founder-director of Kalasadan Institute of Fine Arts, Mumbai.

Nandini’s recital stood out for its subtle blend of pure dance and abhinaya.

Nandini began the recital with a ‘Ganesa sthuti’ and ‘Pushpanjali’ in Natta, which was set to Eka tala. This was followed by ‘Nagendra Haraya’, a ragamalika set to Khanda chappu tala. ‘Nagendra Haraya’ narrates the essence of Shiva Panchakshara (the five cosmic elements that define the existence of Lord Shiva). A ragamalika sabdam ‘Mandaragiridhara’, set to Misra chappu tala, which was composed by Kaladasan, is a salutation to Lord Vishnu. The piece depicts Vishnu Kurmavatara and the churning of the ocean. The Dasavatharas, including the Krishnaleela, were illustrated through excellent abhinaya and fine postures.

The highlight of the evening was a Varnam in Thodi, ‘Mohalahiri’, which was composed by Mani.

This piece provided the danseuse a platform to showcase her bhava abhinaya and rhythmic skills whilst performing complex jathis. In ‘Mohalahiri’, a Sringara piece, the nayika is longing for the nayaka, Muruga.

The artiste went on to perform Dikshitar’s ‘Sarasijanabha Sodari’ in Nagagandhari, and, Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Enna thavam seithanai’ in Kapi. The latter had the danseuse narrating Yasoda’s love for Krishna. Her excellent use of bhava-abhinaya and the way she transformed herself into Yasoda and Krishna in split seconds were reminiscent to those of her guru, Chithra Visweswaran.

In Vasudevacharya’s ‘Brochevarevarura’ in Kamas, Nandini depicts a scene from Gajendra moksha. She asks Rama why he does not protect his devotee the way he saved Gajendra from the clutches of a crocodile.

M.D.R’S thillana in Sindhubhairavi, which is in praise of Parameswara, showcased her grip on performing rhythmic passages. Nandini concluded the recital with Madhyamavathi.

Nandini was accompanied on stage by her mother, Sharada Ganesan, uncle Nataraj Gopal (vocal and nattuvangam), Narayanaswami, and Sreeram (vocal), Uma (violin), Krishnan (mridangam,) Janaki (flute) and Ganesan (morsing ).