Flashes of brilliance keep this dance ballet alive.
Parvati Ravi Ghantasala's dance ballet Krishna Madhuryam had on the surface of it, everything that ought to make it successful.
Excellent lyrics culled out of various compositions in different languages, set to tuneful music, multi-media to buttress the narrative being enacted on stage, so on and so forth. Flashes of brilliance like the group falling into a five-horse chariot pattern with the protagonist in the centre, the Krishna-Kalindhi combat, the Gajendra moksham, the Raasa-leela were evident, but on the whole, the ballet did not take off due to certain inherent lacunae, not to talk of the technical snag in the digital show which formed the backdrop.
The group of seven, along with Parvati, recite an invocation to Lord Krishna after which the song-dance-narrative takes us across incidents right from Krishna's birth and translocation to Yashoda's home by Vasudeva who crosses the mighty river with ease.
This was portrayed with emotional dignity by Parvati. In fact, all through the dance ballet, it is Parvati who took the lead, donning the important roles, be it Krishna, Arjuna, Radha, Yashoda, or Vasudeva. It was very evident that the senior artiste scored on abhinaya though not entirely eschewing the dance part. As such nritta had no place since most of the songs were not rhythmically suited to rigorous dance.
The stress seemed to be on ‘bhava' both in the lyric and the music. Baro Krishnayya… was full of little Krishna's pranks and Yashoda's joy, a very hackneyed theme, like the ‘pandhal attai' but many a dancer's favourite as it gives a large scope for abhinaya. Similarly, Teeradha vilayattu pillai…encapsulating Radha-Krnsa's love. What beat all logic hollow was why Krishna character was holding the flute (hastabhinaya) whenever he appeared on stage irrespective of the situation. The Govardhanagiri…where the entire community huddles under the onslaught of lashing rain waiting for Krishna the saviour, were lovely songs calling for mild footwork.
Parvathi's choreographic excellence came to the fore in certain frames like the taming of the serpent Kalindhi which was very impressive to watch.
The lilting Oothukadu composition, Jaya vijayeebhava Nandakumara… was an apt choice. Parvati's credible abhinaya in conveying the agony of Gajendra, the elephant when caught unawares by the crocodile, was praiseworthy.
Another scenic beauty which merits a mention was the raasa-leela where the Kolatam dance took to winding patterns as dancers moved in and out in perfect synch. Though the costume and hairdo were aesthetic, they were way too sober and simple for the young group of dancers .
The colourful change in costume for the Raasa-leela brought in the required brightness and liveliness among the group —as Krishna could have compensated for the slow-moving ballet but he only fell in line with the rest. The odd gap in moving from one song to another made a dent on continuity. The pre-recorded ballet was staged for the second day of SICA's festival.