At the Kalapradarshini Trust's festival, Vijna Rani Vasudevan and Sravani Joshi, showcased their dexterity. Vidya Saranyan

Vijna Rani Vasudevan , a disciple of the Dhananjayans, presented a Bharatnatyam recital at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for the festival series (November 22 to 26) of The Kalapradarshini Trust, founded by Parvati Ravi Gantasala, that stood out for adherence to tradition and correctness of technique.

She is currently pursuing a postgraduate course in Bharatanatyam at the University of Madras. Vijna has also trained in Mohiniattam, Odissi and Carnatic music and has given numerous solo and group performances in India and abroad.

The introductory number - a Alarippu in Khandam as well as the next item, ‘Gayiye Ganapathi,' were performed with aplomb . ‘Bhavayami,' the famous ragamalika piece extolling Rama, formed the mainstay of the evening . This piece encapsulated the entire epic of ‘Ramayana' and myriad images were conjured up within a single line. The choreography of the Dhananjayans transformed ‘Bhavayami' into a superb, miniature dance-drama. Vijna tackled this piece with a thorough grasp of its subtleties. A special mention must be made of her conjuring up the serene expression for Rama for every refrain. Rama acquiring divine weapons from Viswamitra, his departure to the forest, the meeting with Jatayu were some examples of scenes that were portrayed adroitly.

The difference in body language and facial expressions between Hanuman and Vaali wascommendable. The dancer's powerful nritta and full use of the stage space conveyed situations and characters clearly and without overlapping. Agile movements and footwork amplified the drama of the slaying of Ravana. The Pattabhishekam was cleverly woven without losing sight of the macro storyline. The brevity of the rhythmical pattern after the swara passages was a masterstroke that sustained focus. The sedate pace helped the dancer delineate various characters easily.

‘Sankara Srigiri,' a Swati Tirunal kriti in Hamsanandi and Adi, melded pure dance and abhinaya. The dancer described the magnificence of the cosmic dance of Lord Siva. This was a brisk number that added energy to the recital. The Padmanabha pose was portrayed in a twinkling of an eye.

It was the next number, ‘Devaki Taan,' that was a bit of a let down. Although Vijna performed this piece with vivacity, the vatsalya bhava eluded her. The vital connectivity of maternal love between descriptions of Krishna's wondrous deeds and for the baby in the cradle just did not happen.Vijna made up for this with the Nrityangaharam in Shanmughapriya . Faithful execution of the adavus and unflagging stamina rounded off the recital with positive vibes. The orchestral team led by Guru Shanta Dhananjayan, vocalist Vanathi Raghuraman, violinist Vijayaraghavan ( who did double duty for the next recital too ) and flautist Dhananjayan gave impeccable support to the dancer.

Lively all the way

Sravani Joshi's lively performance (for the Kalapradarshini festival ) on November 24 was proof that her deep interest in Bharatanatyam was coupled with rigorous training. A disciple of Parvati, Sravani is a Class XII student of The National Public School. In the maroon and orange costume, Sravani displayed a good sense of rhythm and solid nritta. She struck a positive note right from the Mallari set in Gambheeranatai ragam. Firm hastas, agile movements and the clearly spelt out 'dith, thith, theys,' made this item a pleasure to watch.

The ragamalika varnam in Tamil was the main piece of the evening . The sahitya sported the motif of the ragas' names, so that Sankarabharanam, Thodi, Vasanta, Aarabi, Devamanohari, Bharavi etc were cognizable elements.

Sravani put her expressive eyes to good effect to convey the plea of the heroine. The nayika cajoling the sakhi with gifts of jewellery was a cute picturisation. Lord Shiva's glorious form, his brilliance as the Ardhanareeswara and his eternal compassion were put together clearly.

Excellent orchestral support added to the varnam's impact. Guru Parvati's smooth nattuvangam matched mridangist Kartikeyan's subdued but effective technique. Singer Girija Ramaswamy was in her element with her empathetic touch as in the anupallavi, ‘Maa madi mukhamo.' Violinist Kalaiarasan's bowing revealed itself in the clever cueing for Sankarabaranam.

‘Chaliye Kunjaramo' is a popular bhajan by Swati Tirunal. This lyric has beautiful picturisations of nature and the pallavi describes Radha inviting Krishna for a romantic tryst amidst the bowers of Brindavan. Sravani's Radha was a shy girl, who captures Krishna with her sweetness. A noticeable element here was flautist Srinivasan's notes, which seemed to bring the Koel on stage. The blithe mood was continued with the Thillanna in ‘Paras,' the concluding number.