With a little more involvement, the talented Kuzhali J.V. can go places.
As a society that is proud of its cultural legacy, we are bound to encourage up and coming dancers. As the guest of honour, dancer-presenter Radhika Shurajit mentioned, one hour-long recital on stage can teach you much more than a hundred hours in a classroom. So valuable is ‘stage experience.’
For young aspirant Kuzhali J.V., disciple of Geetha Navaneethan, this opportunity would help her mature as a dancer. She has the talent to be a good one - her timing is intuitive, she is graceful, and she has a confident stage personality and an expressive face. What she lacks is the polish of well-finished adavus and deeper emotional involvement.
Geetha, a disciple of Thanjai Andal Amma and Professor R.S. Rajendran, Government Music College, Tiruvaiyaru, and founder, Prasanna Bharatanatya Vidyalaya, Nanganallur, has retained the slow-spun ‘Thanjavur’ flavour in the adavus and in the thaatu-mettu sequences, though the old jatis have been re-set. She has compromised though on the emotive element. Geetha admits that she cut short the repetitions of lyrics in the varnam, as students today do not have the time to develop their expressional skills. She recollects that in her time when girls learnt Bharatanatyam, they did it full-time and for many years, with abhinaya classes in the morning and evening.
As a result, the sthayi bhava of love, longing and pride in Natyacharya Dhandayudhapani Pillai’s navaragamalika padavarnam, ‘Samiyai Azhaittodi Va Sakhiye Endan’ (Adi), did not come through. There was no build-up of emotion, as each line was treated as a stand-alone segment. It did not help that vocalist (Vanathi Raghuraman) who was struggling to keep up the melody, could not contribute to the mood in the composition.
The dancer showed more involvement in Subrahmanya Bharati’s ragamalika kriti on the girl child, ‘Cinnanchiru kiliyae.’ Coddling the young child, caring for her and playing with her, Kuzhali was uninhibited in her delineation. After putting the child to sleep and tiptoeing out, she runs back to shush the applause... It was unexpected and effective, and that, was the high point of the evening.
Geetha (nattuvangam) spearheaded the orchestra, supported by Shekar (mridangam) who aided the nattuvanar, while adding a few embellishments occasionally. Pathanjali (flute) rose above the situation with humility, to provide strong melody. His Kapi interlude before Bharatiyar’s kriti, enhanced by Shekar’s folk beat, was memorable.
This was an even paced programme, that took its time whether in the opening Sriranjani ‘Narthana Aadum Vinayaka’ or in the closing abridged Dhanasri thillana ‘Geethadhunikku’ (Adi, Swati Tirunal). It was presented by Malar Cultural Association, Mylapore.