Besides clean lines and superb co-ordination, unpredictability lent the edge to Anubhuti.
After a long career as a celebrated Bharatanatyam soloist, Chitra Visveswaran has turned her energies to group choreographies. She has proved herself yet again, this time through her dynamic and deft visualisation. ‘Anubhuti- an Experience’ is the latest Margam offering by Chitra’s Chidambaram Dance Company. It was commissioned for the Opera of France at Lille in 2011 and has travelled the world since.
Apart from the high standard of execution, the clean lines, the excellent coordination and the melodious musical score, it was the unpredictability that Guru Chitra wove into the presentations that gave them the edge. She explored the diagonal, the circle, the horizontal et al, breaking up the songs into fast-moving, wonderfully dynamic visuals.
The invocation to Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, ‘Trimurti Anjali’ (ragamalika, Adi, R. Visveswaran) set off the unpredictable pattern. It was a song with only one line, ‘Jham jham jhonukita...,’ composed in Gambira Nattai, Jog and Abhogi, and was finally fashioned into a 10-minute piece with vibrant nritta and sharply etched friezes.
The Lalgudi Jayaraman Navarasa padavarnam, ‘Angayarkkani’ (ragamalika, Adi) became a smooth mosaic of emotions, enactments, jatis, swaras, poses, entries and exits as the dancers explored different facets of Goddess Meenakshi in turn. There were no pauses to change the tune or the mood. One segment flowed into the other with well-visualised fluidity and coordination. If the music was consistently very good thus far, here it was arresting. The genius composer gets the credit, but the musicians’ rendering also had to be given its due. G. Srikanth (vocal), R. Thiagarajan (flute) and Mudikondan Ramesh (veena) were the reason the varnam reached such heights that day.
Describing the mischievous young Krishna, the gopis see that there is more to the ‘young boy’ in Purandarasadasa’s ‘Chikkavane Ivanu’ (Mohanakalyani, Ata). When one of them gets a vision of his divinity, the gopis realise who he is.
The tone of the presentation changed and the choreographer took a lead from here on by bringing in the avataras as quiet friezes in a Dasavatara sloka, ‘Vedaanudharate.’ The show ended with a beautiful visual of Krishna in Brindavan under a tree, surrounded by adoring calves.
The bright dancers were Arupa Lahiri, Sai Santhosh Radhakrishnan, Jai Quehaeni Reddy, Gayathri Rajaji, Divya Shruthi and Sharmada Viswanathan. Sukanya Ravindhar (nattuvangam) has grown as a nattuvanar to become an expert now. She was ably supported by Venkatasubramaniam (mridangam). Anand Kumar did the lighting.