Bala Devi displayed a good sense of timing, grace and sensitive emoting range, though her nritta was not too strong
‘Krishnarpanam,' an offering to Krishna by Bharata Nrityam dancer Bala Devi Chandrasekhar, comprised well-known kritis, a varnam (Bhairavi, Periasami Thooran) and a thillana (Suruti, Adi tisra nadai, Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyar).
Excellent music and sensitive portrayal marked the themed solo. Bala Devi has a happy stage presence that reflects her performance history. She is mature and naturally gifted with a good sense of timing, grace in her movements and an especially sensitive emoting range. There were rhythmic complexities as in the use of off-beat and different nadais all through the recital which Bala Devi handled with ease. What did not work was the almost casual nritta execution.
The Vazhuvur style has its rounded movements and its speed; add karanas to this and there is a bigger mass of rounded movements and friezes. If there is no clarity in definition, this can become an indistinguishable mass. And that's what happened. There was no azhutham no araimandi, no definition and no energy. Barring a medical condition or advanced age, can one justify this?
In contrast, Bala Devi's emotional maturity and experience was reflected in every phrase she conveyed. In the Bhairavi varnam ‘Sakhiye Nandagopalanakku,' she presented quick snapshots of Krishna - a younger Krishna playing tricks on the gopis, stealing milk from the cow, an older Krishna calling the gopi by throwing flowers on her and a tableau of peacocks and swans mesmerised by Krishna's music. The quickly changing lens had clarity and sensitivity not seen often. There was also the Viswaroopa darshan that Krishna bestows on Arjuna. The fact of all creation within Krishna was brought out dramatically (there was loud applause for this wondrous sight).
The Narasimha avatara in ‘Om Namo Narayanaya' (Karnaranjani, Ambujam Krishna) was another incident that reflected the dancer's dignified portrayal.
The music was of a very high standard with G. Srikanth (vocal), Balakrishnan (nattuvangam), Venkata Subramanian (mridangam), Muruganandam (violin) and Sruti Sagar (flute) comprising the melodious team.