The twin facets of Bharatanatyam - strong tala and involved abhinaya flourished through Archana Narayanamoorthy's vibrant dancing. A student of Pandanallur Pandyan, Archana has studied law and is currently based in Dubai. Her dancing under the auspices of Gana Mukundapriya was no wishy washy affair but an intense communication of her love for the art. So much so that the combined effect of Pandanallur Pandyan's sizzling talam and the dancer's drive made the Narada Gana Sabha mini hall stage space seem too small at times.
After the Pillayar Stuti she moved on to the main piece a swarajathi in Husseini, a composition of the Thanjavur Quartet. This tamil song ‘Yendamayakariyo’ in praise of Lord Siva revolves around the wiles of the 'other' woman who has lured the lord away from the heroine. Archana depicted wonder that any mortal would dare ensnare Lord Siva, and also
detailed the heartburn that the separation has caused. The Lord becoming a sycophant of the other woman was conveyed creatively - as a 'person with the jalara' and 'one who has fallen under the spell of a snake charmer' with a tongue in cheek humour. Stories extolling the Lord, for instance, the burning of Tripura were also intertwined and maintained the undercurrent of Bhakti.
The highpoint of Archana's recital was the strong vein of rhythm. Matching the strong articulation of jatis created by a skilled guru and nattuvannar like Pandanallur Pandyan demand not just dexterity and stamina but also a keen understanding of the ins and outs of his jati patterns. That Archana did so with confidence and ease established both her training and talent.
Mogudochi is a popular kshetrayya padam in Sahana where the nayika bids farewell to Lord Krishna. The dancer depicted this nayika as one who even while saddened at leaving Krishna shores up her heart with treasured memories. This haunting padam has some lovely imagery notably the one where the nayika likens her to a lotus which blooms even when the sun is far away. Archana built upon this and sensitively portrayed a woman who leaves with her husband to perform her duties and entreating Krishna not to forget her. The thread of viraha was dealt with positively without any keening despair and underscored the mental fortitude of the nayika.
Kavadi Chindu in Chenjuruti, ‘Valli Kannavan’ blended the special votaries like kavadi offered by devotees of Lord Muruga with the heroine's recollections of her Lord. The nature of the raga along with the tempo generated by tisra nadai was explored well by vocalist Roshni Ganesh to lend a lively air that set a good contrast to the sedate padam earlier.
Kuntalavarali tillanna by Carnatic music maestro Balamuralikrishna offered some more brisk moves and sustained the twinkling vibes of the recital to the end.