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Dance enhanced by soulful music

Sudharma Vaidyanathan.

AN IMPRESSIVE stage presence and skill made the performance of Mathura Viswanathan for the festival of Kartik Fine Arts worth watching. Mathura has been recently working with dancer A. Lakshman and seems to have grasped the change of technique with a note of challenge and confidence. She has a pleasant, expressive face. Her handling of the nritta was fair, although it requires further refinement, particularly with regard to the striking of a better basic posture and the strengthening of the adavus with firmness.

Mathura's hasta-viniyogas as well as the thattu-mettu execution in the varnam were neat. In abhinaya, the young dancer would fare better, if she sheds some unnecessary facial nuances. She should attempt on deeper elaborations for the lyrics, as she seems to have the capacity to shine in this sphere.

The major number of the recital, the varnam, "Sakhiye" (Tanjore quartette) was presented with a joyful spirit. The right mood and a pleasant atmosphere were created, mainly thanks to the smooth-sailing, unassuming, unhurried, soulful music of Bhagyalakshmi, and her excellent violinist-husband, N. Sikhamani, who followed his singer-wife like a shadow. It was soothing to hear such an apt, learned vocal accompaniment in the presence dance scenario, which is filled mostly with monotonous, dramatised techniques. A. Lakshman conducted the recital with dignity, although in varnam, during the second theermanam he seemed to drift, now and then. The presence of ace-percussionist Nellai D. Kannan was a boon to the dancer and the members of the orchestra. His special touches and Nadai patterns are always a joy to listen to.

Skilful management

Eight-year-old Sudharma Vaidyanathan captivated the audience at Kartik Fine Arts with her amazingly delightful Bharatanatyam performance. Charming, tiny Sudharma, daughter of well-known photographer Chella, revealed concentration and involvement much beyond her tender age. Her grasp of the technique, skilful management of the on stage-movements, grip for laya, impressive abhinaya and above all, hardwork and a serious approach in her artistic endeavour impressed the viewers, earning for the budding dancer vast appreciation on this evening.

Credit goes to guru Srekala Bharath for carefully selecting the items for the recital, keeping in mind the age and experience of her disciple. Sudharma made her teacher proud with her unassuming stage presence and confident exposition. It is now the duty of the teacher and parents to take enough care in nurturing the young talent by allowing her inherent skill to blossom gradually, without over-exposing at this point of time. The approach of Sudharma should aim at quality and not at quanity.

Sri Vidya Rajaram.

While Sudharma exhibited considerable control over the twin aspects of nritta and abhinaya, further attention with regard to improving the over-all firming-up of the physical frame, which depends mainly on refining adavu structures and clarity in footwork, have to be taken care of. It would be better to train her on these intricacies right now, to scale great heights in the future.

Lalgudi G. Jayaraman's varnam on Goddess Meenakshi (Angayarkanni) aptly fitted into the major slot of the repertoire. Sudharma gracefully depicted the different episodes of Devi. The recital, which focussed on Devi Mahima, had a composition on Goddess Mookambika that followed the varnam. Vocalist Chitrambari's rendering of this number lacked clarity and the sahitya was not audible. Sudharma concluded with a tillana in Ratipatipriya, (by Ghatam Kartik) presented in a crisp and compact format. Sikhamani (violin) and Dhananjayan (mridangam) gave solid support to Srekala Bharath, who led the orchestra.

Firm control

Parvati Ravi Ghantasala of Kalapradarsini presented her senior disciple, Sri Vidya Rajaram, in a glittering atmosphere of the newly constructed P. Obul Reddy Hall of Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha. Sri Vidya is endowed with a striking stage presence. Her tall, elegant stature, supple physique and graceful movements enhanced her performance.

Parvati conducted the recital with firm control, displaying deep reverence and humility. Her recitation of the theermanams, especially the punctuations on the usi came out well and the dancer fared with equal competence.

Sri Vidya commenced with the kriti of Annamacharya, "Sriman Narayana," and extolled the deity with apt descriptions. The main number was the varnam by Geetapriyan, addressing Lord Krishna for whom the lady in love expressed her feelings through her friend.

This piece ("Sakhiye Nee Solladi"), set in Kalyani raga, had considerable merit in the lyrical portion to explain the details of Bhakti Sringara, neatly portrayed by Sri Vidya. However, the interpretations in the earlier part could have been more elaborate to suit the age and capacity of this dancer. Both in the technical and mimetic areas, Sri Vidya revealed good grip. With further hard work into the deeper realms of the art-form, this young dancer is bound to shine.

Sukhi, the versatile nattuvangam and percussion artiste, accompanied on the mridangam with a skilful touch. With a clear understanding of the rhythmical phrases, Sukhi played in an unassuming manner, bringing out the different intricacies of laya with appropriate embellishments crucial for dance.

L. Nagaraju was carefully following the main singer, Sudev, whose manodharma in singing for the sancharis was aimless. Sudev has a melodious voice, but it lacks the necessary quality for dance accompaniment.

Sudev's voice was not aligned to sruti, especially during sangatis; also, he must realise that bruga or sangati-oriented musical approach is not suited for dance.


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