Vineeth’s recital was the epitome of ideal male movements. The attractive stage presence of Lakshmi Parthasarathy Athreya augmented her skills

A male dancer, ‘Purush,’ has to work extra hard to make an impact in the world of dance, dominated by female dancers. We find then that male performers either dance with a lot of vigour, full of aggressive movements to emphasise their masculinity, or goes to the other extreme by turning effeminate in their movements.

Walking the tightrope and striking a healthy balance between the two sides, Vineeth’s performance at The Music Academy dance festival was the epitome of ideal male dancing movements.

The blend of the male and female was captured beautifully by him in the Nandisha Kavuthuvam, a composition of swami Haridas in kanda chapu thalam. The dynamic leg movements using the charis of his guru’s style to suggest nandi and the theatrical expressions, while portraying the Damaru, captured the essence of nandikeshwara.

The dancer’s experience in emoting on the silver screen gives him an edge in the art of abhinaya, which flowered beautifully in his rendition of Kulasekara Azhwar’s pasuram ‘Mannu pughazh Koshalaithan’ set to music by B.V. Lakshman.

The gentleness he expressed, while addressing the child in the cradle, the subtlety of expression while depicting the sequence of the queen drinking payasam and pregnancy and the dignity of presentation maintaining the mood of the composition right through the song, was truly an aesthetic experience.

The main song, performed as a varnam, was a compilation of lines of Subramanya Bharatiyar titled ‘Kannamma en kadhali.’

The depiction of kannamma with the eyebrows arched like a bow, fish-like eyes, the moon-like face, the beauty of her form, the descriptions of the landscape, birds and animals were appealing.

The charanam with the lines ‘Sattira karanidam’’ gave scope only for literal interpretation and this entire composition focused more on staying at a physical level without going deeper into a poetic metaphysical state. The dramatisation of Narasimhaavtar was a little overdone.

A vibrant thillana composed by B. Kannan in raga Nagaswaravali came alive with Vineeth’s dynamic nritta. Vineeth needs to move beyond his comfort zone and push himself to scale greater heights.

Guru Padma Subramanyam wielded the cymbals with Gayathri Kannan and Radhika Muthukrishnan on the vocals, Nagai Sriram on mridangam, C.K. Patanjali on flute and B. Kannan on veena providing the musical support.

Graceful and proficient

Lakshmi Parthasarathy Athreya has an attractive stage presence which enhances her dancing skills, honed by years of training under guru Chitra Viswesaran. Her performance, keeping up with the current trend, was a theme-based show on Lord Krishna.

Beginning with a mallari in Gambira Nattai as an introductory number, she moved on to render a Pushpalatika Alarippu, wherein the combination of lyrics and sollukattus in the musical rendering were mirrored with appropriate sancharis and rhythmic movements by the dancer.

Violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman’s varnam, ‘Innam en manam erangi’ in Charukesi was the centrepiece. This composition, which is more descriptive in nature, limits the possibilities for imaginative sancharis to flow. The dancer, however, infused certain moments with expressive elaborations, which can be visualised from the description that followed.

The dancer prepared the clay from which she fashioned an image of Krishna, conversing with the image, reliving the intimate moments with the lord in a dreamlike state, intoxicated by the melodious music emanating from his flute, and the look of admiration combined with bhakthi bhava while questioning the lord ‘why he does not relent to her entreaties,’ were well delineated

The theermanams were executed with flourish and a firm footwork, revealing her competence in laya, combined with grace and tossing of the head, a signature style of her guru, which was reflected in her movements.

The scope to portray vatsalya bhava and the mischief of the child Krishna were effectively tapped by Lakshmi. The imagery, depicting the process of evolution of life starting with the element of water, fish in it, earth with deer and other animals, air with birds and bees, leading upto the vishwaroopam scene and then the act of total surrender to the lines ‘Jagadhodharana’ where Krishna opens his mouth to reveal the universe, was a visual delight. Madhurashtakam in place of a thillana was the concluding piece. Lakshmi now needs to work with greater intensity and depth to elevate her art to the next level.

Murli Parthasarathy’s melodious music was complemented by Nellai Kannan on the mridangam, Sikhamani on the violin, Thiagarajan on the flute, and with Chitra Visveswaran and Sukanya Ravinder wielding the cymbals.