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Serenity prevails

PETITE AND poised, Dr. Jyotsna Jagannathan's dance recital on January 8 at the Krishna Gana Sabha was pleasing because of its calm quality. Even in the Varnam, which is more often a test of stamina and speed, the serenity never left the dancer as she went from one nritta portion to another. Likewise the bhava factor.

Jyotsna Jagannathan

Beginning with a brief Pushpanjali in Arabi in Talam Adi, a Balamurlikrishna composition, the Thanjavur Quartet varnam in Thodi, Talam Adi took pride of place in the recital. Neat foot work (especially the teermanans) that deliberately sought to provide softness was most evident. While the varnam got its due thanks to its length and display of gentle Nritta, it was the item, ``Rusli Radha Rusla Madhav" that also had a few verses from Amaru poetry interspersed, that stole the show. And that was also because of the beautiful rendition of the song by Sharanya Krishnan. The piece gave Jyotsna good scope to explore the vast and subtle levels on which the song had been built.

Accompanying Jyotsna on the nattuvangam was A. Lakshman, who was not only equally soft but determined, but never once distracted the viewer or listener from the excellent orchestral support — Nellai D. Kannan on the mridangam, M. S. Kannan on the violin and Vijay Venkatesh on the flute.

Amazing accountability

The same evening also featured the mother-daughter duo of Revathi Ramachandran and Manasvini Ramachandran. The drawback of having such a cute young girl dancing and that too with such earnestness and finesse, is that you end up mostly watching the child and pay little attention to the veteran who has trained her in the first place. The accountability the child shows to nritta, bhava and her approach, in general, is striking. The high levels of energetic dancing started right with the invocation in Nattai followed by a brief Guru Stuti and the Ganesh Vandana in Hamsadwani, Talam Adi. Dressed attractively in green and cream, the two threw themselves into the item and quickly followed it up with a Shanmugapriya Varnam, a beautiful composition in praise of Lord Muruga that was truly fast paced and predominantly Nritta oriented. It was a source of amazement that Revathi was fully matched in footwork and clean hand movements by Manasvini. In the second half, the child's natural fluidity of movements and flexibility became more evident in the jathi portions done solo, while the senior's movements followed the practiced and well-trodden path of a veteran.

It helped of course that the nattuvangam by N. K. Shyamsundar was forceful and equally energetic that gave the piece a lot of life and vibrancy. It is deliberate on the part of Revathi to choose items that give more scope for nritta than abhinaya but the item based on the verses of the Tiruppavai and Tiruvembavai had Manasiviin dressed in pavadai and the Andal kondai which straightway created the Margazhi mood. Concluding with the Shuddha Nrittam, the hallmark of Revathi's concert. Others accompanying the artistes on the stage were Shashidharan on the vocal, N. K. Kesavan on the mridangam, Kalai Arasan on the violin.

Revathi Ramachandran and Manasvini


A bright exposition of Kanchi was presented by Lavanya Raghuram. And nothing highlighted this more than the Ragamalika Nrityopahara or varnam that Lavanya performed with dignity and finesse. It was in a way different a change from the usual ones where the nayikas mourn or plead or agonise. Here the main content was the description of the greatness of the temple town of Kanchi as the fulcrum of art forms and religion. Such being the theme, the varnam took its own form with a lightness that did not take away from the pure classicalism of the Margam. Specially choreographed by the Dhananjayans, this item very clearly showed the good grounding and training Lavanya has received from her gurus. The Tamil composition based on Kalki's `Sivagamiyin Sabadam' similar to a Padam set the mood with the gentle and soulful exposition of the song by Vanathi Raghuram where Lavanya was able to capture its soul and narration with her bhava. The Nrityangaharam in Karnaranjani and tala Adi was a good example of how the Kalakshtera style of nritta— clean lines and firm grip over adavus— came to the fore with the mridangam support by Nellai Kannan highlighting the nuances of rhythm and foot movements.

Lavanya Raghuraman

Accompanying Lavanya on the nattuvangam was V. Balagurunathan who was soft yet energetic, Kalaiarasan on the violin and Ramana on the flute.


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