While Radica Giri's Bharatanatyam was enjoyable, the three-day ‘Indradhanush 2010' was a laudable effort.
Radica Giri's Bharatanatyam at the India Habitat Centre, given her stage presence and basic technical foundation, needed the alchemy of inner fire to transcend formal prescriptions.
Teaching at her school Anjali Dance in Saratoga, Radica's performances in India follow a long gestation period after training under Vazhuvoor veteran K.J. Sarasa and working with the Kalakshetra and Pandanallur banis. She is now under A. Lakshman of Chennai.
The varnam in Vachaspati projected the requisite stylistic and interpretative foundation, conveying the nayika's love for Muruga. But more of gut involvement would have caught the ache of yearning in the charanam line “Tedinen sendil kanamal vadinen”, after passionately urging the sakhi to convey her message to Muruga. Radica's nritta, somewhat tentative in the opening Pushpanjali, was more assured in the varnam jatis, though her jumps and ‘arudi' flourishes could do with greater energy and assertive rhythmic articulation.
The item of the evening was Swati Tirunal's Brindavani “Chaliye Kunjaname” with the dancer becoming the persuasive nayika, urging the beloved to the garden where nature and the cuckoo's call beckoned lovers.
One is less sure about the choice and rendition of the next Dandayudapani Paillai Padam projecting the experienced woman of love (Samanya nayika) arrogantly asserting that no matter who knocks at her door, she would only entertain the one with money. Madurai Srinivasan's Tillana in Kapi ushered in the concluding moments. With more performance experience, Radica is bound to evolve.
The exquisite alap cameo in Brindavani by Sudha Raghuraman notwithstanding, the music volume needed to be lowered, the only soft touch being Lakshman's low pitched clarity in nattuvangam.
Rainbow of young talent
The three-day festival ‘Indradhanush 2010' presenting young talent in all dance forms, mounted by Sunaina, was a laudable effortin getting together youngsters groomed under gurus spread across the length and breath of the country.
Senior students of Kanaka Sudhakar provided a spirited Tillana start in Desh raga to the proceedings. But the concluding move of sprinkling flower petals all over the stage necessitated removing them with a piece of cloth to avoid the next group from stamping on what was a reverential offer.
Good training showed in the well co-ordinated grace of the Mohiniattam trio, all disciples of Bharati Shivaji. A proven talent, Manjula's subtle interpretative charm found scope in the Jayadeva Ashtapadi “Lalita Lavangalata” the “Nrityati Yuvati” line with rhythmic gait changes in varied arithmetic of 3,4,5,7 and 9 syllabic combinations, lending a fine nritta digression to an abhinaya based item.
Russia based Priya's sundari neck movements need more subtlety and Deepu Nair's clean technique would benefit from the joy of movement which a too serious dancer seems to hide. The finale by all three of “Pandattam” (ball play) symbolising lifelike ups and downs, had the fully involved audience participating with animation.
Croatian dancer, Nikolina Nikoleski, a student of Saroja Vaidyanathan, colours her Bharatanatyam with tones of her rhythmic gymnastic and Laban High School Contemporary Dance background - her araimandi plie becoming ‘mukkalmandi' ( three quarter squat instead of a half seated squat) and her “veeshara adavu” (the leg raised at right angles to the shoulder) becoming an oordhva tandava adavu (leg raised vertically in a straight line, the toes almost touching the forehead! Her toe heel ‘kudittumettu' step needs clarity. She interpreted the padam on Krishna “Neeraja Dala Nayana” with expressional softness, with a feel for the words.
The Jugalbandi, a brave effort with Raghunandan's Bharatanatyam and Mansi Pandya's (Gangadhar Pradhan's disciple) Odissi, more often than not became simultaneity of forms, with the interactive dancing in relation to the other missing. The khanda rhythm of “Sri Vighnarajam Bhaje” made for uneasy Odissi and some of the Odissi ukkuta patterns made Bharatanatyam movements awkward.
Amulya Balabantray's Odissi in the Devagandhai Pallavi showed excellent training. This disciple of Bichitra Swain and Gangadhar Pradhan among others, is a proficient dancer though his Devi homage despite passion lacked variety in expression. Streamlining the abdomen area would make his dance more visually aesthetic.