Appropriate songs, suitable theme and neat portrayals by each dancer took Bharatanatyam to a higher plane.

Divyatha Arun’s graceful Bharatanatyam performance was the curtain raiser for the September season of music and dance, organised by Rajalakshmi Fine Arts, Coimbatore. Her well-researched presentation on the theme ‘Ashtanaayika’ depicted the eight states of a woman in love, as described by Bharatha Muni in the Natyasastra.

Vaasaka Sajja Naayika,’ dresses up beautifully to welcome her lord; Virahotkanthitha Nayika is upset when he is away; Swadhinabhartruka is proud about his position and qualities; Kalahantaritha regrets the fact that she had rejected his love; Khanditha is livid with rage when she has proof of his infidelity; Vipralabdha feels betrayed by her lover; Proshitabhartruka misses her lover when he has gone away on a trip and Abhisarika boldly pursues her lover without qualms.

Appropriate songs from various languages made Divyatha’s presentation a work of art. Songs such as ‘Theruvil Vaaraano,’ ‘Netru Varen Endru,’ ‘Netrandhi Nerathile’ and ‘Yaarukkaagilum Bhayamaa?’ so suited the theme that they seemed to have been written with a particular nayika in mind.

Divyatha’s costume and make-up spoke of good taste. She has blossomed into a lovely performer. She paid tribute to the quintessential woman and was at ease portraying each one of them, her emotive face keeping pace with her deft movements. Vocalist Girija Ramaswamy led the excellent orchestra comprising Dhanasundari (nattuvangam), K. Sridhar Pandian (mridangam) and Neela Jayaraman (violin).

Rama Vaidhyanathan, disciple of Yamini Krishnamurthy and Saroja Vaidhyanathan, took Bharatanatyam to a higher plane — her entire body became a lithe medium for portraying emotions. She began with the Mayur Alarippu, (composed by Karaikkudi Sivakumar) that subtly incorporated most of the minute movements of the peacock.

The main piece was ‘Pannagendrasayana,’ an ashta ragamalika by Swati Tirunal that describes the love and longing of the nayika for Lord Padmanabha. Devotion and passion are intricately woven into this padam and it was a treat to watch Rama portray the feelings of the heroine. Art is said to be the imitation of Nature – the closer the imitation, the greater the art. Cuckoos, parrots, flowers and elephants appeared in all their beauty as Rama depicted them on stage. She presented a confident Sita in ‘Eppadi Manam Thunindhadho’ by Arunachala Kavirayar. The spectators, used to a meek and coy Sita, got to meet a spirited lady who could argue with her husband and have her way.

Karaikkudi Sivakumar’s spirited nattuvangam, along with R. Venkateswaran’s powerful vocal support, Arun Kumar’s mridangam and Viju Sivanandam’s violin made it an aural treat too. Rama’s introduction guided the spectators to appreciate her performance with involvement and clarity.

Lively footwork

Mathula Kishore Kumar began with the impressive ‘Narthana Ganesha Mala’ (Kishore Kumar) and followed it up with the rare Pada varnam of the Thanjavur Quartet, ‘Saamiyai Azhaithu Vaadi Sakhiye’ in Khamas with pleasing abhinaya and lively footwork. She presented ‘Gokulathu Gopiyargal’ with obvious enjoyment and concluded with Sivathandavam and Balamuralikrishna’s tillana. Her mother and guru Amutha Dandapani wielded the cymbals effectively and her husband, vocalist Bhavani S. Kishore Kumar gave life to the songs with his rich voice. Kesavan’s mridangam, Palakkad Bhaiju’s veena and Thyagarajan’s mellifluous flute added to the quality of the orchestra.

The striking ‘Kalabhairavashtakam’ was a befitting start to Karuna Sagari’s recital. The aesthetic choreography (Karuna Sagari) for the varnam ‘Aadhi Sivanaikkaanave’ by ‘Dhandayuthapani Pillai was enjoyable with interesting sancharis. The lengthy jatis by Anil Kumar were lively but a little tiring, though Karuna Sagari danced with incredible energy. Her clear explanation encouraged people to pay attention to the meaningful lyrics. In ‘Kannan En Sevagan’ by Bharatiar, Karuna enacted the daily chores with such eagerness and involvement that they seemed very interesting.

She brought out the beauty of Appar’s Thevaram with ‘Vanjappenn’ in which the saint describes how the moon, the snake and the Ganges are alert and awake. Her costume, in typical Kalakshetra style, was different and gave her a great freedom of movement. She had the support of an outstanding orchestra too. Vocalist Srikanth was brilliant and Rajamalli’s nattuvangam was clear and majestic. Ramesh Babu on the mridangam and Subburaman on the violin set the pace and the mood.

After the Mallari in Gambhira Nattai, Lavanya Sankar presented the varnam, ‘Velanidam Poy Solladi’ in Vachaspathi. The jatis were lively, interspersed with words. She brought out Meera’s pining for Krishna and her desperate search for him in ‘Hari Mai To Laak Yatan Kar Haari.’ The javali ‘Apadooruku’ by Pattabhiramayya gave her a lot of scope for abhinaya as the nayika laments about her reputation being spoiled because of her flirtations with her beloved. Srikanth’s singing, Sairam Santhanam’s impressive nattuvangam, V. Srinivasan’s violin and Atul Kumar’s flute added to Lavanya’s beautiful presentation.