Rashmica’s confident stage presence made up for the few snags.
A bright student, Rashmica Chandrasekhar, and a proud teacher, Srekala Bharath, together presented a lively Bharatanatyam recital at the quaint annex, Kamakoti Gana Mandir of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. Rashmica is a talented dancer whose timing and expression have good grounding. She was however at a disadvantage that evening, having to make do with a small stage and a super-fast nattuvanar.
Rashmica opened with a fairly intricate Anjali in Valachi, followed by Shanmugha Kavuthuvam (Shanmukhapriya, Rupaka, Madurai R. Muralidharan) that was beautifully recited and sung by Srekala and vocalist Bhavani Kishore Kumar. An unusual padavarnam in Nattakurinji raga, Rupaka tala (‘Maa Moham Taane’) by dance maestro K. N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai followed -- unusual because of the addition of a swarajati passage, instead of the mukthayi swaras.
The pieces had a good range of rhythmic combinations set within pleasant jathis, but they fell prey to pace. Was the footwork shoddy or did the speed hamper completion? One could not tell.
Rashmica’s arm and shoulder alignment was good, but her araimandi requires attention and her naatta adavus can incorporate jumps. For the footwork, she deserves the benefit of doubt.
As a woman pining for her beloved Balaji in the varnam, Rashmica was expressive. She cries piteously as Cupid rains her with love darts. In the anupallavi, ‘Simaanaik Kaana Vendumae’ there was an interesting sanchari speculating about whether Balaji will arrive on an elephant, a horse, etc, that was portrayed with clarity.
There is a case to be made for dancers who do part-time nattuvangam. While some like Jayanthi Subrahmaniam are natural, Srekala was fairly competent. The accompanists play a large role in anchoring the programme and here M. Dhananjayan (mridangam) and M.S. Kannan (violin) were the stars. Kishore Kumar added more bhava than necessary in his music; he also suffered from a limited vocal range that day.
The last few presentations were naturally fast -- a javali (‘Nee Matale Maayanura’) and the Kadanakuthuhalam thillana (Adi, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna). The show concluded with a lilting Kavadi Chindu (Chenchuruti, Adi, Periasami Thooran).