JAYA NARAYANAN PISHAROTY
The highlights of Geeta Chandran’s performance were her unerring sense of rhythm and evocative abhinaya.
It was a treat for lovers of Bharatanatyam in Thrissur as Geeta Chandran, Delhi-based dancer and founder of Natya Vriksha School of Dance, presented a Bharatanatyam performance.
Her repertoire was conventional as she believes that the true test of innovation is what you can give of yourself to the medium while remaining within the framework of tradition.
The danseuse began the evening with a Pushpanjali in raga Gambhira Nata.
Geeta then did a performance to ‘Vandemaataram.’ It was her way of reacting to the terrorist attack in Mumbai. Geeta makes it a point to include this piece in all her present recitals.
A varnam in ragamalika has Vallabhacharya’s Sanskrit verses set to music. A Carnatic singer herself, Geeta danced in tune to the beat of the music.
The varnam ‘Sundara Gopalam’ focussed on the physical attributes of the Lord. The stories of ‘Vastraharanam’ and ‘Kaliyamardanam’ were highlighted. Geeta displayed through fleeting expressions on her mobile face the gamut of expressions of the gopikas when they discover that their clothes had been stolen.
Embarrassed, afraid, indignant, they implore and flatter Krishna into returning them. The brisk jatis were judiciously interspersed with abhinaya passages.
In ‘Kaliyamardanam,’ the brilliant mridangam accompaniment changed the mood dramatically. The different rhythms of the ball game played by the gopis and the sinuous movement of the serpent were reproduced.
The graceful Swati Tirunal padam in raga Suruti, ‘Alarshara Paritapam’ followed. The heroine complains she cannot bear the arrows of the God of Love. Inspired by Kalidasa’s poetic description, Geeta brought out the beauty and allure of the nayika. Lasya was the main feature of this item.
In direct contrast, ‘Bho Shambho’ in raga Revathi was a personification of the cosmic energy of Shiva Tandava. This composition of Dayananda Saraswathi is considered to be Geeta’s masterpiece. The initial shloka was filled with abhinaya as the diverse qualities of Lord Shiva was presented. The devotee is in awe of the power and might of the Lord. Geeta displayed some perfect poses, alternating with furious bursts of energy, thus capturing the essence of Shiva.
The concluding Sankeerthan, ‘Vanamali Vasudeva’ had the participatory element of a Bhajan. That Geeta is a seasoned dancer is obvious from her unerring sense of rhythm, eloquent expressions, graceful hand and foot movement and mature interpretation of themes.
Vocal accompaniment for the recital was by B. Vijayasree and Nattuvangam by S. Sankar. Thanjavur Kesavan on the mridangam and Tiruvizha Viju S. Anand on the violin lent able support. The programme was organised by Thalam.