With brisk movements interspersed with graceful postures, Sumitra was able to convey a lot.
Sumitra Subramaniam chose a theme-based Margam extolling the myriad moods of Devi. The dancer began on a vibrant note with a shakti koothu of Bharatiar wherein she communicated the manifold attributes and power of the goddess with brisk movements interspersed with graceful postures. A recurring use of a gesture depicting the snake at the end of each stanza was delightful.
The varnam ‘Angayarkanni,’ a composition of Lalgudi Jayaraman was interspersed with fast paced jathi korvais, which the dancer handled with élan. The arudis resonating from the mridangam played by Nellai Kannan was complemented by Sumitra’s firm footed theermanams, which revealed her strong foundation.
The clarity of her gestures and movements combined with grace was matched by a expressive face with which she emoted the Navarasas quite convincingly. The descriptions of the various aspects of the young Meenakshi and the feelings of a devotee pining and pleading for the grace of the goddess was well communicated. The highlight of this varnam was the sequence where Meenakshi, going around on a victory march, comes face to face with Siva and is struck by the pangs of love on seeing him. The dancer’s abhinaya here did not have the necessary spark and finesse to bring out the delicacy of shringara rasa.
The Meenakshi Thalattu choreographed by Guru Adyar K. Lakshman gave scope for the dancer to explore the beauty of Nature -- the description of the woods, the creeper entwining the trees, a cradle created out of foliage. Sumitra conveyed the picturesque setting for the lullaby beautifully. She only needs to pay a little more attention to details, for during the depiction of the swinging movements, the difference between a swing or a cradle was not communicative with clarity. A deeper focus on abhinaya will help her to mature as a dancer of merit.
Jayanthi Subrahmaniam wielded the cymbals with Nandini Anand providing vocal support, Nellai Kannan on the mridangam and M.S. Kannan on the violin.
Sumitra was performing for the Dasyam festival, at R.K. Swamy Hall. A gold painted mundu with the word ‘Dasyam’ on it was an aesthetic alternative to the banner culture of our sabhas, but it would be more appropriate if it was positioned off the centre.