The 24th dance festival at Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam started off at Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam with the presentation of the title ‘Bharatha Kalai Sudar’ to veteran dancer Prof. C.V. Chandrashekhar, a disciple of Rukmini Devi Arundale. Late r in the evening, the students of ‘Bharatham,’ Chennai, presented the fascinating dance ballet ‘Shakthi Prabhavam.’ The greatness of the three forms of Shakti was portrayed neatly with one episode for each form (Parvathi-Abhirami Bhatter, Lakshmi-Kanakadhara stotram and Saraswathi-Vritraasura Vadham). The slaying of Mahishasura by Durga formed the grand finale.

Twenty five children of various age groups did a great job by doing their roles, small or big, perfectly. Aesthetic sense dominated Himaja Ramsharan’s choreography. Her majestic nattuvangam and clear introduction added to the impressiveness of the ballet. Akkarai Subhasri (vocal support), Thanjavur A. Chandrasekhar (mridangam), Sikkil B. Balasubramaniam (violin) and T.V. Ramana (flute) formed the supportive orchestra.

Priyanka as Parvathi, Madhuvanthi Shekhar as Lakshmi and Niharika P. Swamy as Saraswathi beautifully symbolised what they stood for. Bahulashri P. Swamy as Durga was fury incarnate. Rahij Ramsharan impressed as Indra and Mahishasura with his agile movements and quickly changing facial expressions.

Full of substance

Krishna Chidambaram’s Bharatanatyam recital was full of substance and maturity. Senior disciple of C.V. Chandrasekhar, she presented the ‘Siva Ashtapathi’ (‘Kanaka Sabhaiyil Aadum Sri Sankara’) in Tamizh set in ragamalika with the refrain ‘Jaya Bhava Taapa Haraa.’ Her subtle and subdued abhinaya for Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Maamavatu Sri Saraswathi’ evoked great admiration. Krishna transformed herself into the quintessential mother while portraying Neela Ramamurthy’s lullaby, ‘Masil Ayodhiyil’ that included all the important episodes from the Ramayana. Even the jatis in the lullaby were soft.

Guru Chandrasekhar wielded the cymbals. Preethi Mahesh’s emotion-filled voice, Sunil’s melodious violin and Karthick’s lively mridangam gave solid support.

Pratiksha Kashi, daughter and disciple of the renowned Kuchipudi exponent Vyjayanthi Kashi, stole the hearts of the spectators with her brisk presentation, on Mohini Avatar, along with Vidya and Gururaj.

With lovely large eyes, pleasing stage presence and tasteful costumes, Pratiksha perfectly suited the role of Mohini. She depicted the manly power and feminine grace simultaneously through ‘thandava’ (male) and ‘lasya’ (female) dance forms in ‘Ardhanareeswara.’

With incredible ease

Emotions flitted across Shweta Ravishankar’s face with incredible ease and quickness. A disciple of Padmini Radhakrishnan of Mumbai and now under the tutelage of Roja Kannan, she portrayed the jealous and possessive nayika in the varnam, ‘Anname, Aruginil Vaa’ in Valaji by Subbudu. She melted in devotion while presenting ‘Enna Solli Azhaithaal’ by Ambujam Krishna. A few poignant lines from Bharathiar’s ‘Panchali Sabatham’ had been included in the song that added more beauty and depth to the already moving song. Sweta portrayed Dusshadhana’s atrocious arrogance and Draupadi’s helpless agony with authenticity.

Randhini’s excellent vocal support, Subhashri Ravi’s nattuvangam, Ravishankar’s mridangam and Trissur Ramesh’s violin enhanced her performance.

Jai Quehaeni’s Bharatantyam recital was marked by graceful movements and nimble footwork. After the alarippu at three speeds, Jai presented the varnam on Lord Krishna, ‘Sakiye Nee Solladi, Nalla Samayam Arindhu Selladi.’ She intensely brought out the nayika’s suffering in the lines, ‘Thaalen Ini Oru Kanamum.’ She did her guru Chithra Visveswaran proud with her enjoyable performance in which sowkya bhava ruled. Sairam’s nattuvangam was very impressive. She was accompanied by Uma Shankar (vocal support), Adayar K. Gopinath (mridangam) and Sunil Bhaskar (violin).