In keeping with the month of Margazhi (Dhanurmasam), Yashoda Thakore presented a crisp group choreography Gopika geetam (Song of gopis) in the Kuchipudi repertoire wherein she focused on the madhura bhakti, a concept perpetuated by the Vaishnavas or devotees of Lord Vishnu. The underlying principle of this physical passion for the Lord (in this case Krishna) often opens up the inner chambers of consciousness leading to the union of the soul with the divine soul (Atma-Paramatma).
Culled in part from Vyasa's Sanskrit and Bammera Pothana's Telugu version of Bhagavatam, Gopika geetam begins with the highly contended gopis in the presence of Lord Krishna, whom they consider their ‘possession'. Typical of the Lord, Krishna vanishes the moment he is taken for granted and the gopis once again are immersed in sorrow at the separation. Yashoda and two of her pupils (Sindhuja and Sampreeti) enacted the agony and launched a search (Nallani vadu…). The abhinaya was convincing though the body kinetics of the two dancers needed to convey the right emotion in a thematic presentation of this sort. The playing of veena, flute and tala in utter joy of being with the Lord was aesthetically portrayed. The pleasant surprise at the sight of Krishna's footprints (Ee haranambulu…) was brought out by all the three artistes beautifully. The alternating movement of Lord Krishna on the stage with a single daruvu followed by the gopis as he disappears made for a picturesque piece of choreography.
Despite the stage constraint, Yashoda was able to bring out certain aspects with defining clarity like the illusory replicas of Krishna pleasing each and every gopi who pined for His presence. It reminded one of the famous line: angana, angana anthare Madhavam. The three Krishnas dancing with three other gopis on stage looked crowded as the dancers kept edging each other out. The footwork to music was the redeeming factor, the dancers moved in unison and played with their beloved Lord in the waters!
The highlight of this presentation was the ‘kolatam' of the three pairs executed with near perfection with commanding stances as they moved in tandem.
Yashoda as one of the gopis danced with devotion in every nerve and move. Vasudha as the main Krishna looked good but a little more briskness in executing adavus would have been welcome. The Narayana teertha mangalam was an apt wrap-up for the Gopika geetam. The pre-recorded music complemented this graceful performance at Andal Nilayam.