The Kathak recital by Seema Mehta and dance drama by Karuna Sagari and troupe were captivating.

The 12th dance festival conducted by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan came to an end with Seema Mehta's solo Kathak performance and the vibrant dance drama, ‘Adiyar Thirunokku,' by Karuna Sagari and troupe.

Disciple of Pt. Chitresh Das, Seema Mehta commenced her recital with Rang Manch, an invocation to the deities offering flowers. Her agile movements and quick swivels in Kramalaya thaat was marked by complex rhythmic compositions in great speed. Her demonstration of the Jaipur and Lucknow gharanas with clean nritta drew wide appreciation.

Rhythm scored in the artist's rhythmic speed in the recital of drut laya. The dancer sang a teen taal in Chandrakauns to demonstrate different speeds and footwork unique only to the Kathak art form. Her portrayal of Balakrishnan's play with a small wooden ball and the way it ended with a fierce question and answer session with Kaliya spoke of the beauty, grace and God through variegated movements and swaras. The artist's natural and unforced presentation earned her a lasting ovation at the end of the recital. Seema was accompanied on the tabla by Kalidas Misra.

Accent on bhava

‘Adiyar Tirunokku' by Karuna Sagari and troupe of Bhakti Natya Niketan, Coimbatore, that came up next was a thematic presentation in the margam style. Adi Sankara's ‘Jagannathashtakam,' in which Lord Krishna is seen from three different angles, gave way to the varnam marked by crisp theermanams. Goddess Angayarkanni was depicted with appropriate poses fused with adavus. Karuna Sagari captivated the rasikas with her agile movements along with Swathi and Varsha. Bharatiar's ‘Kannan Perumai' portraying the different roles of Krishna – as a cowherd, faithful servant and a good companion to His master – stole the show. Impeccable abhinaya was the highlight of the item. The dance buffs could see the maturity and dignity of the troupe in presenting the Thevaram. They could not miss the artists' accent on bhava throughout.

The orchestra comprising Jyotishmathi (vocal), Subbaraman (violin), Suryanarayanan (flute), Anil Kumar (mridangam) and Gayathri (nattuvangam) deserves kudos in enhancing the dignity of the programme.