Shades of the late Krishnaveni Lakshmanan are more than evident in daughter Gayatri Balagurunathan’s Bharatanatyam. Gayatri’s expressional abilities with highly communicative netrabhinaya, made the Swati Tirunal varnam ‘Daani Saamajendragaamini’ set to Adi tala an experience in portraying the agony and ecstasy of love, the nayika in this case urging her sakhi to convey her yearning to Lord Padmanabha.
Gayatri’s dance is suffused with an undercurrent of joy. The visualisation of Nature in “madhu maasa” kindling desire in all living beings, was telling. The rhythmic interludes, accompanied by the clarity of V. Balagurunathan’s nattuvangam, were based on jatis composed by the redoubtable Karaikudi Krishnamurthy, the aural and mathematical arrangement of the ‘sollus’ creating an impact without quantifying and prolonging the piece.
Set to movement by Gayatri’s late aunt, the dancer’s rendition, amidst generally immaculate technique, had the odd awkward movement with heaviness of step.
G. Srikanth, a gifted musician, in the padam singing, tended to make the solo singing concert format rendition, detract from the dancer’s abhinaya in the Kshetrayya lyric ‘Bala Vinave’ in Khambodi. There is an established singing format for these compositions which makes for an unhurried, crinkle-free presentation with gamakas but no brigas. After the Jonpuri lilt of Sudhananda Bharati’s ‘Nitthiraiyil Vandu’ with the heroine tantalised by her inability to identify the person who, appearing in her dream, has captured her heart, Gayatri ended with the tillana.