BHARATANATYAM If nritta stood out in Sangita Vasudevan’s recital, perfect tala sense marked young Sandhya Ramesh’s presentation.
After the mandatory invocation and pushpanjali in Arabhi, a composition of Balamurali Krishna, Sangita Vasudevan, who performed at the R.K. Swamy auditorium, Mylapore, recently, moved on to the main piece. The varnam, ‘Naadhanai Azhaithuva Sakiyae’ in Khamboji, was a play of bhakti shringara, extolling the glory of Lord Muruga.
The emotion of love was interwoven with slow-paced jatis. It was strictly in the nayaka-nayaki format.
In the lines ‘Vedanai Thuyarini Naan Sakiyenae,’ Sangita portrayed the pangs of love with innate grace, but shringara rasa was low. The jatis that followed were well-executed and drew applause from the audience.
In the charanam, choreography of Guru Rhadha came to the fore in her mridanga jatis.
Here Sangita effectively highlighted Hindu traditions such as carrying the kavadi, piercing of the body with needles and the dancing of the peacock. The Mayura mudhra could have been accompanied by a little bit of movement.
Arrows of Manmadhan
It also featured the five arrows of Manmadhan, which strike the entire body including the chest, mouth, eyes and head making the nayika suffer from pangs of love. The choreography to this is an original piece of Vazhuvur Ramiah Pillai, mastered by Rhadha. Throughout the item nritta stood out and abhinaya was kept at a subdued level.
Sangita’s chosen padam, a song in Begada, featured the nayaki as one who is very proud of her husband. Here she portrayed arrogance appreciably.
Following this was a javali, in Paras. It was a delectable form of nayika bhava, where the heroine defies all laws to meet her beloved.
The concluding Kalinga Narthana tillana in Gambeera Nattai, composed by Oothukadu, was a recently choreographed piece by Rhadha. It was a rather unusual, intricate tillana with a lot of sollukattu involving movements of the snake Kalinga.
Sangita’s dance will acquire greater magnetism only when her abhinaya matches up to her nritta. Nandhini Anand’s melodious voice added lustre to the recital.
Vijayaraghavan on the mridangam, Satish Kumar on the violin and Muthu Kumar on the flute formed the musical ensemble.
Sangita Vasudevan is a senior disciple of Guru Rhadha and has participated in all major productions such as ‘Jaya Jaya Devi,’ ‘Bhavayee Padmanabham’ and Nowka Charithram.
She resides in San Francisco Bay Area and runs Nritya Lahari Dance Academy in Cupertino since 2003. She has sung and done nattuvanguvam for many dancers in San Francisco Bay Area.
Plenty of potential
Ten-year old Sandhya Ramesh, who occupied the stage on the third day of recitals made a brisk start with pushpanjali (Gambheera Nattai, Aadi).
This was followed by a song on Vinayaka portraying him as one who helps overcome obstacles, and invoking him to stand by her in all the ventures. The ‘Shanmugha Kauthuvam’ in Shanmughapriya had a lot of soll amaippu. Her very entry was marked by perfection. She then moved on to present ‘Sakthi Koothu’ in Ragam Sivasakthi, before the main item — Lathangi Varnam.
Sandhya has a frail and flexible body. She executed impressive movements, spanned the stage with ease and maintained the araimandi and perfect sense of tala throughout. Her time-keeping and capability to execute theermanams require special mention.
There is a lot of potential in her which needs to be nurtured in the right manner.
Guru Sheela Unni Krishnan, who provided the nattuvangam, deserves plaudits for her efforts in shaping up Sandhya’s talent. Vocal was by Rajeshwari Kumar and she was supported by Kalyani Kalyanaraman.
Mridangam by Nagai Narayanan, violin by Muruganandham and flute by Patanjali made the performance wholesome. Sandhya Ramesh, a student of Singaram Pillai Girls HSS, Villivakkam, belongs to a washer man’s family. She started learning the art at the age of five, and has participated in many of Sheela’s ballets. “She has the capacity to perform any role and is quick to absorb concepts,” says Sheela.