The essence of the Ramayana, well choreographed and beautifully presented, was the highlight of Lavanya Ananth’s performance.Lavanya Ananth’s performance for this sabha was a study in grace and elegance. An exponent of the Vazhuvoor school of dance, she presents the characteristic graceful lines in her technique, as well as the underplayed, yet communicative, bhava in her abhinaya. Her first item was an unusual one, a laya kavithai, composed by mridangam maestro Karaikudi Mani, in which she offered her respects to the Loka guru Dakshinamoorthy and to Lord Siva, whose cosmic dance embodies the movement of the Universe.
For her varnam, Lavanya chose Lalgudi Jayaraman’s ‘Innum En Manam.’ The nritta sequences were intricate, with tisram and khantam used liberally to bring variations in the rhythm. Lavanya executed them with easy competence.
Sublte and neat
The abhinaya described the effect of Krishna’s magical flute on all living creatures and hinted at an adoration that began in childhood.
While this presentation was subtle and neat, one felt there was also emotive potential in the maturing of this love, or even in the sanchari of the word natakam, which Lavanya took up for elaboration, that was left unexplored. This was certainly not the case, however, with the next item- a verse from Leela Sukha’s ‘Krishna Karnamrutham.’ In this beautifully conceptualised lullaby, Yashoda is narrating a bedtime story, about Rama, to little Krishna.
The essence of the Ramayana was captured very well in this story told poignantly with no excessive dramatics, and the little asides (for example, pointing out Krishna’s playful disobedience in contrast to the absolute obedience of Rama) were conveyed tenderly.
As the story reaches the point, where Sita is abducted by Ravana, little Krishna leaps out of his crib asking for his bow and arrow. A loving Yashoda comforts Him, realising only later that these were probably memories from the past. This item, well choreographed and beautifully presented was definitely the highlight of the performance.
The concluding item was a Swaralaya, a composition of M.S. Sukhi, who also played the mridangam that evening. This was a choreography with the notes, the rhythm and the dancer now alternating, now combining and always returning to a pallavi line.
Lavanya was ably accompanied in her recital by K.Balakrishnan wielding the cymbals, Murali Parthasarathy providing vocal support and Kalaiarasan playing the violin.