Vijayalakshmi’s Mohiniyattom is delightful with delicate movements, deep torso inflections and soft undulations. Though the femininity and grace are generic to the dance style, Vijayalakshmi (daughter and disciple of eminent dancer Bharati Shivaji) adds charm to the movement vocabulary with her vivacious nature and expressive eyes. She performed for Suswaraa held under the auspices of Naada Inbam at Ragasudha Hall, Luz.
Her hour-long recital for Suswaraa was a feast for the senses, with her pretty movements and good characterisation. There was a sense though at the end of it that the performance could have gone beyond this, with some stillness in her essays.
The opening Ganapathy Stuthi was musically interesting with a mix of sahitya (lyric) and cholkettu (rhythmic syllables) composed in Arabhi, Adi tala. The surprise factor in the sudden unveiling of the deity showed craft in the visualisation. In the Swati Tirunal padam, ‘Ramyanayoru Purushan’ (Kedaram, Adi), the heroine awakens smiling, still flushed from the romantic tryst in her dream. She describes the man in her dreams to her friend and they go over the list of possible names -- Kama, Siva, Indra or Soma -- before they realise that it must have been Padmanabha himself. It was a well-thought out delineation so far, but why wasn’t there an ‘Oh!’ moment in that revelation?
‘Siva Stuthi’ composed by American composer Mac Quayle, an excerpt from the soundtrack of a documentary film, ‘Beyond Grace’ featuring Vijayalakshmi and Bharati, was the shop-stopper that evening. The layered music carried an underlying aggression, and reflecting this were streamlined geometric movements, some of which were taken from Kalaripayattu poses. This masculine, aggressive tone was a whole new experience in a Mohiniyattom performance.
Jayadeva's Ashtapadi, ‘Lalitha Lavanga’ describing Spring and Radha’s loneliness, and ‘Touratrika’ that brought together geetham, vadyam and nrittam, completed the repertoire of this vibrant dancer.