Trained under Guru Vempati Chinna Sathyam, Uma Muralikrishna’s Kuchipudi does not have the springy effervescence, which is the hallmark of her guru’s style. This is primarily because the serious Bharatanatyam training under K. N. Dandayudhapani Pillai and later Guru Adyar Lakshman has given her body movements the firm groundedness of a form, which is different from the ‘ubukku’ of the Kuchipudi dancer with the constant level changes in movement.
Dancing for the morning session of the Music Academy festival, Uma began with Adi Sankara’s ‘Ganesa Pancharatnam’ in Hamsadhwani in tisra nadai. With all her technique the other items such as ashta nayika in ragamalika ‘Navarasa Thatumbum Naatiya Kalaiye,’ by Madurai R. Muralidharan and Oothukadu Venkatasubbier’s ‘Kalinganartanam’ in Nattai did not rise beyond tepid levels, the formal correctness lacking the sparkle and the effusive quality of Kuchipudi.
The item which redeemed the performance was Simhanandani, the traditional drawing of a lion’s image with the rhythm of the feet, which today is more or less a lost skill, and which the dancer has learnt from late Korada Guru Narasimha Rao. It was not only lucidly introduced but also executed with certain deftness.
The competent musical team had Madurai R. Muralidharan conducting with nattuvangam, Koushik providing vocal support, Hari Babu on the mridangam, Siva Ganesh on the violin and Sruthi Sagar on flute.