Ashwini Viswanathan also handled the rhythm passages with practiced ease.

Ashwini Viswanathan burst on to the stage to open her performance with a Kali Kavuthuvam. A student of Jayanthi Subramaniam’s, this young dancer has impressed in recent years with her clean delineation of nritta and her involved abhinaya. On this particular occasion, her performance was not as effortlessly controlled as it has been earlier. The somewhat exaggerated brightness of her expression and sharpness of her movements appeared unnatural and her nritta, though with deep araimandis (the half position stance), was not quite in balance.

Having said that, she is clearly passionate about her dance and brings out guru Jayanthi Subramaniam’s choreography with clear footwork and abhinaya. Her interpretation of the Bhairavi varnam ‘Mohamana en meedu’ carried various sancharis asking why Siva refused to entertain her pleas for His attention. Her anxiety that He might open the third eye to destroy her and her question whether she was unworthy of His mercy were brought out with a lot of feeling. She also handled the rhythmic passages with practised adherence to the beat, keeping step with the nattuvangam in the jatis and the arudis in the charanam.

In the Ashtapadi ‘Yahi Madhava’ set in Sindhubhairavi by Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar, Ashwini’s abhinaya came through with more control as she asked the recalcitrant Krishna not to cross a line, both in the literal and the metaphoric sense. The depiction of her pain at the end of the song as she shuts the door on Him was done with emotion.

The evergreen ‘Enna thavam seidanai’ stood out for its depiction of the various ways in which the omnipresent Lord transformed Himself into the child that Yasoda was lucky enough to raise. It showed the fearless vanquisher of demons on the one hand and the child running to His mother for security on the other. It also described the god resting on the snake in contrast to the child resting on Yasoda’s lap.

Ashwini wound up her performance with a tillana in Mishramandu, a Lalgudi Jayaraman composition. There was an easy rapport between the dancer and her teacher, who also gently guided the orchestra comprising Radha Badri, the vocalist, Nellai Kannan on the mridangam and Vijayraghavan on the violin.