Ramya Ramnarayan invested the same energy in her abhinaya as in her nritta.
Ramya Ramnarayan, a dancer-teacher based in New Jersey, presented a Bharatanatyam recital that was impressive for the chiselled grace. A student of Swamimalai S.K. Rajaratnam and Kalanidhi Narayanan, Ramya's performance demonstrated that she has internalised and innovated the training she has received from her gurus.
Natesa Kavtuvam combined with Patanjali slokam was the preliminary item. Poses of Nataraja evoked the majesty and energy of the Cosmic Dancer. Subsequently, ‘Mohamana,' the Bhairavi varnam was a sringara piece dedicated to Tyagesa or Siva. Ramya's depiction was of a heroine who is confident and assured enough to invite her Lord frankly without the coyness that one normally sees. The sollukattu for the varnam were created by Swamimalai Rajaratnam Pillai and reworked with Srihari Rangaswamy from Bangalore.
Focus on footwork
Poses, twirls and leaps rubbed shoulders with adavus in the framework of the jatis. A sudden flurry of footwork would cap a long stretch of slower paced movements. It was remarkable to note that Ramya invested the same energy in her abhinaya as in her nritta. The dancer used her eyes expressively – the quick darting glances, half closed eyes of the lovelorn heroine or the keen yet compassionate look of the hero ensured that passion and devotion inherent in this padavarnam were accurately communicated.
‘Yaarukkagilum Bhayama' was a padam in Begada where Ramya took the concept of the confident woman further with “Why fear the world when I can claim the hand of the sovereign among men?” The throwing away of the veil and the amusement at the pettiness of the gossiping world were proclamations of love. The smouldering incense at the start of the song and the heroine's casual dismissal of loose talk were an instance of Ramya's imaginative choreography that elevated the padam beyond the mundane.
Swati Tirunal's ‘Itu Sahasamula' detailed a young girl, who is fending off an over-enthusiastic nayaka. Set in raga Saindhavi, this dealt with a girl who good humouredly turns away the hero and literally ties his hands!
A tillana by Balamuralikrishna was a challenging lyric set in five ragas and gatis. Ramya had set adavu patterns which showed off each gati without making heavy weather of the piece. The rather abrupt end to this item could have been tailed off smoothly.
Radha Badri's sombre singing and Swamimalai Suresh‘s confident nattuvangam blended well with Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan's violin and Haribabu's mridangam.