The Vazhuvoor style was discernible in Shradha's rounded adavus.

A lively spark and a fine comprehension of the intricacies were the high points of Shradha Balu's recital at this sabha. A software engineer, Shradha Balu is the disciple of Srekala Bharath and has been earlier groomed under veterans such as K.J. Sarasa. With several performances in India and abroad to her credit, Shradha's recital reflected proper training and onstage experience.

It was a delight to see the coordination between the orchestra and the artist and this went a long way in enhancing the performance. The programme card also ensured that there was a balanced display of jatis which needed physical agility as well as skill in abhinaya.

Lyrics in different languages and a range of emotions such as bhakti, sringara, etc., projected by the dancer in the recital were other plus points. The dancer gave a succinct picture of Andal and her devotion to Lord Vishnu in the Pallandu verses that were followed by Andal kavutuvam, the opening number. This ragamalika piece was set in a brisk pace that perked up interest in the evening's audience which braved the weekend's downpour.

‘Mohalaagiri,' the Khamas varnam in Rupakam, formed the mainstay of the recital where Shradha combined crisp movements and easily decipherable stream of thoughts. The Vazhuvoor style was discernible in the rounded adavus. Shradha's enactments of the heroine coaxing and cajoling her friend to mediate with Lord Muruga and to deliver the letter were done with practised ease.

While graceful body bends, the feet aligned in a straight line for the adavus impressed, the dancer's araimandis were not so. ‘Sri Chakra Raja' in ragamaalika was a devotional piece where Shradha not only recounted Devi's mystique but also a legend from Saint Gnanasambandar's life with élan especially for the background of Sindhubhairavi in that stanza. While the depiction of the goddess had dignity and stature the quality of compassion was found wanting in the dancer's netrabhinaya - the language of the eyes - a fact that would have completed the picture. Shradha's energetic handling of Kuntalavarali drew applause for the fidelity to both the talam and the mood of the step design (by Srilatha). The upbeat nature of the raga and the dancer's empathetic response gave it patina.

Srilatha's nattuvangam and Chitrangani's vocals added dimension to the dancing.

Keywords: Shradha Balu