Santosh Nair excelled in all aspects of dance.
Santosh G. Nair’s full-fledged dance recital for the Indian Fine Arts showed a lot of promise. Every posture, tap of the foot and bhava spoke volumes of the training given by her gurus V.S. Rama Moorthy and Manjula Ramaswamy. After paying obeisance through pushpanjali she did a small padam ‘Vande Shambu,’ a raagamalika in praise of Lord Shiva.
The highlight of the recital was the varnam which was pulsating and where the dancer kept time to the rhythm of the percussion. It was a navaragamalika pada varnam and a composition of K.N. Dandayudhapani Pillai with the underlying mood ‘viraha.’ Beginning with the line ‘Swamiyai vara solladi,’ it talked about how the nayaki pleads with her friend to unite her with the Lord by bringing him to her as quickly as possible. The heroine talks about the various ways in which her Lord could be received. In the line, ‘Thamatham yeno vasantha’ set in ragam vasantha, Bhibatsa and karuna rasas came to the fore when her friend tests her patience by delaying her departure, by having a good meal, chewing on betel leaves and so on. She even wants to be dressed and bejewelled like the nayaki for her meeting with the nayika.
The sancharis were not elaborate but suited the vakyartha in keeping with the moods of the heroine. Equal importance was given to nritta and abhinaya throughout the piece which was interspersed with agile footwork and speedy theermanams. In the Annamayya kirtana, ‘Ekkadae Parabrahmam,’ a ragamalika, various scenes from the Ramayana were presented as a one-line choreography intermingled with swarams. Santosh was at her best, portraying Sita’s swayamvaram and the Vali–Sugriva and Rama–Ravana war.
‘Smara Sundaragunika sari Evarae’, a javali in Paras, found Santhosh depicting a nayika, confidence personified. She says that her Lord simply loves her talent of playing the veena and that he would not look at anyone other than her. The dancer captured the subtleties of hasya, karuna and sringara rasas. Oothukadu’s composition, a kavadi chindu, was an interesting presentation of abinaya and natya. Santosh ended the recital with a thillana in Revathi.
While Manjula Ramaswamy’s nattuvangam was crisp, vidwan Hariprasad offered a musical treat. M.S. Kannan’s melodious bowing was a good foil to Vijayaraghavan’s resonant beats on the mridangam.
Hyderabad-based Santosh has been learning the art for nearly 14 years with more than 1,200 (group and solo) performances to her credit. A recipient of several awards, including Balshree, Natya Mayuri (Chaitanya Art Theatres, HYD), Yugadhi Puraskar and so on, she was also awarded a scholarship by CCRT, New Delhi Scholarship (2003–2010), Pt. Jasraj Scholarship for music and fine arts and scholarship by HRD Govt. of India. She has passed a certificate course in dance with distinction. The young dancer is also an author, having written a book - ‘The Traditional Facets of Indian Dance.’