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Updated: January 9, 2014 20:00 IST

Revisiting the classics

V. V. RAMANI
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Swarnamalya Ganesh. Photo: S. Madhuvanthi
The Hindu Swarnamalya Ganesh. Photo: S. Madhuvanthi

Swarnamalya portrayed contrasting emotions with élan.

An uninitiated viewer to a dance performance tends to focus on the physical form-a well sculpted figure attired in gorgeous ornaments and silks rather than the intricacies of the art form. Swarnamalya Ganesh may not match up to the ideal form, but her dance has at this stage evolved to a level wherein attention gets diverted to the inner core of her art, giving the discerning rasika an experience to relish. Her performance reiterated this fact.

Swarnamalya’s research oriented studies has given her the impetus to revisit classic compositions and present it the way it was done in the days of yore. The pace therefore is leisurely and unhurried. The beautiful and mobile face has the ability to capture a range of emotions, which came through in her depiction of the dilemma of the nayika longing for her lord of Tiruvarur with a combination of both bhakti bhava and sringara bhava.

The depiction of passion using circumambulatory movements of the hand traversing the chakras in the body was at once romantic and esoteric. This was embellished with simple and dynamic jati korvais danced with competence, and the musical refrain of the lines of the sahitya being sung along with the sollukattus, enhanced the theermanams additionally.

Accompanied by a team of musicians led by Nitya and vidya on the vocal, Rakesh (nattuvangam), Parthasarathy on the mridangam and Krishnan with his melodic touches on Harmonium, the dancer explored a padam and javali in the latter half. A Moovanallur Sabhapathy Aiyya padam, which speaks about a nayika who is distressed and dismayed at the physical aberration on the body of her sakhi after her sojourn with the hero, was captured evocatively by the dancer to match the emotional timbre in the voices of the singers capturing the essence of raga Punnagavarali.

The dancer then was able to slip effortlessly into a role that depicted a totally different facet of abhinaya, in a Parsi javali depicting a flirtatious heroine. In this light-hearted javali with a lilting tune Swarnamalya was at her best.The padam and javali with contrasting emotions, dealt sensitively by the dancer made the performance delightful. The dancer needs to pay attention to her costume, possibly by adapting to a sari costume which ideally would be more suitable for her.

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