From aharya to abhinaya and orchestra, the presentation reflected Priyadarsini Govind’s thoughts.
Priyadarsini Govind’s Bharatanatyam is a visual symphony of liquid grace which transcends barriers of language and cultural mindsets. At the inaugural day of the annual dance festival organised by The Music Academy, her mastery over the art flowed into streams of expressions of bhakti and sringara. Every aspect of the presentation, from the dancer’s controlled oratory to the emotionally charged rendering by the musicians, clicked in harmony.
The dancer’s grand fan type costume, the perfectly aligned jewellery added up to exquisite aharya that was no mere accident but the result of Lakshmi Srinath’s creative efforts corresponding with the dancer’s insightful thoughts in presentation. Preeti Mahesh’s niraval and violinist Shikamani synched with the dancer’s sancharis even as nattuvanar Balakrishnan and mridangam vidwan Sakthivel Murugandam’s rthymical ventures drew attention to the slightest flutter of the dancer’s fingers.
The pose evoking Lord Nataraja was a study in deliberation with the dancer pausing for a moment with a downward glance before bestowing the level look of complete compassion of the dancing god for the Tamil verse Ulagellam Uyar which succeeded Pushpanjali and Alarippu in Misram as the introductory notes for the recital. Priyadarsini’s angasudham or the clarity of body lines reinforced the brief nritta in the Alarippu.
A radiant mother goddess Chamundeswari was conceptualised through her walk, smile and benign mukha bhava for ‘Maate Malayadhwaja,’ the daru varnam in Kalyani, which formed the focus of the recital. Priyadarsini elaborated upon the splendor of the goddess, the story of the birth of Meenakshi and followed it by the description of Meenakshi’s wedding to Sundereswara and in a swift seamless action metamorphosed into Devi as the divine mother.
The now teasing, now solemn Mother of Ganesha and Muruga were personal touches of creativity which the rasikas expect in Priyadarsini’s dance. The imagery in the varnam was a continuity of the aura of the Goddess invoked in the verses Maanikya Veena earlier.
Impressions of a striking temple sculpture sprung into effervescent life were reinforced by the interludes of theermanams in her trademark thrilling style – a certain set of static adavus would be interlinked with sharp kinetic movements and twirls to conclude with a flourish of poses. The diagonal profile in Priyadarsini’s dancing added visual interest. Rhythmically intricate theermanams set by senior mridangam vidwan G. Vijayaraghavan set a vibrant note for the next dissertation of abhinaya.
Indeed it was especially in the varnam that one could see the superb progression of this artist from her schooling under Gurus Rajaratnam Pillai and Kalanidhi Narayanan to today’s celebrity dancer.
‘Inta Moham,’ a famous Kshetrayya padam in Sankarabharanam reaffirmed the dancer’s prowess in abhinaya as she depicted a woman with a rare maturity that sends her beloved back into the arms of his latest dalliance. Her gentle mocking of the beloved and masking her true feelings were done with accents of the wry humour that are a characteristic of Priyadarshini’s potent abhinaya. Periasamy Thooran’s ‘Thottu Thottu Pesugiran’ picked up this note when marvelling at Krishna’s not so innocent intentions.
Tukaram’s bhajan that came right at the end after the vivid Thillanna in Purvi saw the dancer strike fresh stances that eloquently picked up the poet’s idea – the mesmerising , awe-inspiring God who leaves the poor Bhakta completely befuddled . One saw both the Lord of Pandaripura and Lord Jagannath with the captivating eyes in Priyadarsini’s art.