Having trained under guru Vazhuvoor R. Samraj, senior dancer Srekala Bharath, dancer-teacher S. Srilatha of Kalakshetra and currently studying the 108 karanas from the Natya Sastra from dancer-scholar Padma Subrahmanyam and dancer-musician Gayathri Kannan, Bhavya Balasubramanian has grappled with change and has remained remarkably steady despite it.
Her roots are very ‘Vazhuvoor’ so most of the presentations that evening, at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, were from a stalwart of that school, Guru K.J.Sarasa, re-set by Srekala and now embellished by Bhavya with karanas and charis, beginning with the Vazhuvoor thodayamangalam, ‘Jaya Suta Purivasa,’ composed by Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai’s grandfather Thanjavur Swaminathan.
There is a strong sense of focus in Bhavya, so she powers on enthusiastically with or without a guide. She is a bright, confident Bharatanatyam dancer, who is maturing with every passing year. Her style is graceful and dynamic and her abhinaya fluent, so the basics are taken care of.
There were a couple of instances when one felt the gaps - the adavus – for example are less springy than they should be, and another is the occasional weak link in story-telling. She will benefit from watching
more performances and working out her own style in the course of time.
Buoyed by excellent melody from Chitrambari (vocal) and instrumentalists B. Muthukumar (flute) and Muruganandam (violin), who contributed individually and as a team, the Shanmukhapriya padavarnam,
‘Devar Munivar Thozhum’ (Adi, Lalgudi Jayaraman) turned out to be a jewel. Bhavya brought depth to the bhakti rasa early on in the pallavi with the description of Venkateswara’s magnificent form.
The Kuchela sanchari for the phrase, ‘Deena Dayaalan’ was appropriate and Bhavya’s portrayal of Kuchela showed a great sensitivity. She did rush the Krishna-spotting-Kuchela bit, reminding us that this young dancer is still on the learning curve. The dasavatara sequence for the charanam was also well-done.
While Bhavya showed as much comfort in the Purvikalyani javali ‘Nee Matale Mayanura’ (Adi, Pattabhiramayya), she looked nervous in the padam, ‘Yaar Poi Solluvaar’ (Thodi, Ghanam Krishnaier) learnt from Padma Subrahmanyam - a later addition to her repertoire perhaps.
Nattuvanar K.R. Venkata Subramanian’s rolling of the rrrs was one of a kind and together with mridangam player Karthikeyan Ramanathan’s sharp accompaniment made the guru Sarasa jatis and her Andal kavuthuvam most enjoyable.
The Hindolam tillana (Adi) finale composed by Natyacharya K.N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai with the ragamalika charana section was executed with energy by this talented dancer and her entire team.