Kalasagaram's annual dance festival was marked by spirited performances by young dancers.
Kalasagaram, the sangeetha sabha in Secunderabad organised a three-day festival of Bharatanatyam by three disciples of noted Bharatanatyam gurus at its venue, Keyes High school. Jakkula Lakshmi Pravalika presented the inaugural show, conducted by her gurus, veteran V.S. Ramamurthy and his daughter Manjula Ramaswamy. The music score was by Jayaprada Ramamurthy to which singer Swetha Prasad lent good vocal support. Rajagopalachari on mridangam, Saikumar on violin, Dattatreya on flute and Srikanth's special effects, constituted the ensemble.
Pravalika, who is pursuing medicine proved to be a promising exponent of Bharatanatyam too. Her repertoire had a major piece Pada Varnam, like in all traditional Bharatanatyam solos, which she presented after the ritual offerings to Lord Siva in Hamsadwani.
Pravalika's presentation was a visual treat with half a dozen jati spells interspersed with the charanas. Manjula's brilliant nattuvangam was a thing to watch. Pravalika matched every bit of the jati with perfect nritta.
The other numbers were all abhinaya oriented themes. Annamacharya kirtana Ee Padame Kada gave space to the dancer to present Gajendra Moksham, Bali Chakravarthy and Vamanavatara episodes. Ahalya Sapa Vimochanam by Srirama also figured here. Rangeswar's Marathi number Rusali Radha, Rusali Madhava was next, describing the tiff between Radha and Krishna for treating her as one of the gopikas, but taking Krishna's hand finally. This was set in Yamuna Kalyani. The show ended with a Tillana of Madurai N. Krishnan, a pure show of rhythmic prowess of Pravalika.
Shrikari is the youngest of the dancers presented in the festival. Her guru Geetha Ganesan conducted the show with animated nattuvangam. Opening with Vinayaka sthuti, Srikari went for the Pada Varnam – Devi Ninu Chaala Nammitini. This was penned by Jayaprada Ramamurthy. It depicted intense yearning of a devotee for mother Goddess, describing Her myriad forms. She also gave picture of Lord Sundareswara's love for Her. This was punctuated with many sancharis, marked by loveable rendition by her guru Geetha and their execution by Shrikari with perfect body bends, mudras and facial expressions. Shrikari's flow of foot work and the ability to translate the themes into abhinaya was laudable.
Shrikari then went for abhinaya pieces like Krishna Nee Begane Baro set to Yamuna Kalyani. There was also a novel theme of ‘Goda's Dream' originally written by Nachiar Tirumozhi and translated into simple Telugu. The way Shrikari got up to look like Goda Devi with a ‘Tulasi mala' around her neck was a visual treat. The many sancharis, demanding a smart abhinaya gave a view of ‘Goda Kalyanam' (Goda's marriage), set to Ragamalika and Talamalika. The last important piece was Tillana of Madurai N. Krishnan in Simhendramadhyamam. Shrikari was picture perfect in presenting the dance patterns in her foot work.
Ashrita stunned every one with her charm and talent. She is talented disciple of Rajeswari Sainath. The fact that Ashrita is a member of Rajeswari's ballet troupe travelling across continents is in itself a testimony for her good learning. Academically she is doing her graduation in psychology. Her performance was at once graceful in striking apt mudras with nuances. The costumes were attractive.
Supported by her guru's crisp nattuvangam and Rajyalakshmi's expressive vocal support and K. Srinivas' mridangam, Ashrita gave a pleasing recital on the last day of the festival. Chander Rao on violin, Venkatesh on flute and Srikanth providing special effects were other members in the ensemble.
Ashrita opened with Balamurali's invocation Pari Pari Nee paadame in Hamsadhwani, in praise of Ganesha. The next number was a Tamil Pada Varnam – Sakhi yen Inda Jaalam in Sankarabharanam, Dandayudhapani Pillai's old classic. This piece expresses love for her Lord. The dancer enhanced the effect with her role play. The piece was woven with umpteen well taut jatis by guru Rajeswari. Each of Ashrita's conversion of these verbal Jati spells into her foot work, covering almost the entire stage, was greeted with repeated applause. She displayed the same ease while dancing for the chitta swaras. The mimetic part included the devotion showed to Lord Venkateswara in different forms that as Krishna and Rama. After a brief Hindi bhajan of Swati Tirunal in Sindhu Bhairai in praise of Krishna, Ashrita chose to present a Swati Tirunal's Javali Saramaina Matalento in Behag that unveiled the temperament of Nayaki (heroine) who craves to meet her lover but gets disheartened by his vain promises. The final number was Tillana of Balamurali in Kadanakutuhalam. It was a vigorous number packed with pure nritta element. It was a rhythm displaying her skills stepping to the complex patterns.
A couple of compositions that vocalist Rajyalakshmi rendered in gaps including that of Annamacharya's songs on Lord Narasimha which were well received.