The repertoire was rich and varied but Lakshmi Ramaswamy did not give it her best shot.
Lakshmi Ramaswamy's Bharatanatyam recital for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha had well-researched pieces from Tamil literature, well-scripted introductions that traced the gradual flowering of the margam, sweet music and fine dramatisation from a mature dancer. Yet it was a disappointing show, because of the dancer's lacklustre footwork and energy-less execution.
In an era of age-defying dancers such as Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali, Professor C.V. Chandrasekhar and Alarmel Valli, it is difficult to endorse Lakshmi's style unless there is a medical explanation. It is a pity because she seems to have grown otherwise as a dancer and her portrayals reflect maturity as seen from her good timing.
The orchestra was an asset to Lakshmi as it combined skilfully to enhance the performance. It was a noteworthy effort by Dr. Vanathy Raghuraman (vocal), who was supported by the tuneful Kalaiarasan (violin) and Devarajan (flute). The percussive support consisting of Jayashree Ramnath (nattuvangam) and Vedakrishnaram (mridangam) peaked during the Anandabhairavi varnam (‘Sakhiye Inda,' Adi, Sivanandam) with Jayashree's well-modulated recitation, the mridangam artist's support during the jathis and the lilting beats during the sahitya portions were most enjoyable.
Other unusual compositions presented included a Mayil virutham excerpt in Shanmukhapriya, talamalika by Arunagirinathar, sabdam on Narayana from Ilango Adigal's epic ‘Silappadikaram', a padam based on verses from ancient literature highlighting a conversation between a cheeky Krishna and an angry gopi when he is caught stealing butter, and Desh thillana (Adi, Dr. Vanathy Raghuraman) that integrated Subramanya Bharati's nationalist verses after every section.
In addition, there were the varnam and the javali, ‘Samayamidhe Gaadhura' (Mayamalavagowla, Chinnaya). Incidentally, Lakshmi excelled herself as the parakeeya nayika, a woman who is married to one and in love with another, in the latter piece.