Philosophy and high ideals were the focus of ‘The Spark Within,’ a dance recital by Lata Krishnaswamy at Bharat Kalachar. Lata, a disciple of the Narasimhacharis, is talented as well as deft in the field of visual communications.

That day, Lata’s dancing was emotive and had a theatrical edge where the nritta aspect was underplayed, and was more to step up the abhinaya. The performance could be likened to the dance version of a lecture on philosophy.

Alternating between oration and dancing, Lata touched upon forces of Nature, the power of the Almighty, episodes from the Buddha’s life and the divinity within all beings. The verses of Subramanya Bharati, Adi Sankara, Dayanand Saraswati and Valampuri Somanathan were included in the recital and formed the conduit for the dancer’s theme.

The recorded voices of Rajkumar Bharati, Bhavadharani, Shankar Mahadevan and Chitra went well with the positive mood.

If Lata’s talk was spirited, the dance was more so and created a vivid imagery of bhakti. Yet, there were times when it went from being realistic to overdone, and apparent in depiction such as those of the demons torturing Buddha, or that of the drunken fool where the loud graphic tones clashed with the refined subject of the theme. Where Lata scored was in the innovative manner of presentation and in her conviction behind it.

Development of ideas and their lucid execution were keynotes in the recital. Moving from the everlasting nature of the Divine in ‘Bho Shambho,’ the dancer elucidated vitality in Nature through ‘Thee Valarthiduvom.’ Fire, rain and thunder were depicted with wonted force and the poet’s narrow escape from death was enacted with verve. Lata’s body language at this point instantly summoned up Bharatiar’s mien before the eyes. The dancer’s expressive language also brought home the poet’s analyses of fire as being more than a source of energy.

The Birth of Buddha came as a nice contrast to this fiery mood. Descriptions of the wooded grove were vivid.

But the same could not be said of the concluding piece ‘Govindashtakam.’ An abbreviated version of the freestyle dancing would have brought home the ecstasy of bhakti with sharper focus. Rather, the best moments of the recital came in ‘Krishna Nee Begane,’ which demonstrated the diverse perceptions of the Supreme as a child, as a Lover, as a friend and as a guide. The dancer’s involvement allied with the music at each stage and elevated the outcome.

Keywords: dance concert

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Vidya SaranyanDecember 27, 2011