It was a unique and memorable experience for the audience in Kochi when Bharatanatyam danseuse Priyadarsini Govind danced to the music of ace vocalist T.M. Krishna.
Prior to a programme in Kochi, when a comperé announced that the artistes had hardly rehearsed together for the show, and what was going to be presented was a joyous attempt of togetherness, the audience was left wondering what to expect. It was a really rare experience when ace Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna sang for Bharatanatyam diva Priyadarsini Govind in a unique dance-music recital.
Krishna opened the recital with the phrase ‘Balakanakamayachela' in Atana for a Tyagaraja kriti on Lord Rama. In a highly improvised shloka rendition on the nine rasas, Priyadarsini presented various episodes from the life of Rama. Her abhinaya was subdued and appropriate to the requirement of the piece.
‘Hasya' was depicted in the presentation of the gawdy appearance of Surpanakha. She was at ease with Atbhuta rasa while describing Rama breaking Shiva's bow to win Sita's hand in marriage.
The piece de resistance was the famed Bhairavi swarajathi of Syama Sastri – ‘Kamakshi amba.' Krishna sang the lengthy composition in the set pattern with repetitions and without many flourishes.
The dancer was perfection personified and she must have put in a lot of rehearsals with the rhythm back-up, as there was excellent coordination with Shaktivel Muruganandam on the mridangam, and Balakrishnan on the nattuvangam. The poses she came up to describe the goddess in her many forms were nothing short of ethereal. Her graceful portrayal of the goddess holding a parrot was presented beautifully with striking lighting.
Krishna stepped in at the right point at a teermanam and there was not a single jarring moment. The right tempo, never heightened, gave the much-needed devotional fervour to the piece. The choreography was captivating, with the dancer hardly ever repeating a movement and offering a splendid variety of articulate gestures and flourishes.
Krishna found his space when he took up niraval for the phrase ‘Shyamakrishna sahodari.' As the second speed reached its crescendo, the audience was spellbound and tremendous applause followed.
Veteran violinist Sriramkumar and Arun Prakash on the mridangam provided flawless support. Another improvised presentation saw Priyadarsini seated through an entire abhinaya piece.
Her ‘samanya nayika' came alive as she chided a friend not to poison her mind with complains about Muvva Gopala. She subtly enacted the ardour that the heroine describes in a Kshetjna padam ‘Kuvalayaksheero.' Another melodic experience was the Behag javali ‘Vagaladibodhanalaku valachithivo sami.'
The final rhythmic piece, a swara exercise in Nalinakanti, was an amalgamation of grace and speed. The rhythmic structure was set by Shaktivel, the mridangam player on Priyadarsini's side. The event was undoubtedly one of the best programmes organised by Dharani Society.