Fete The 26th dance festival, organised by the Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam, included recitals of talented dancers. B. Ramadevi

T he week-long dance festival at Meenakshi Kalyana Mandapam, Pollachi, organised by Pollachi Tamizhisai Sangam, featured the dance recitals of eminent artists from India and abroad.

On the inaugural day of the 26th dance festival, Uma Anand, daughter and disciple of guru K.N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai, received the title ‘Bharatha Kalai Sudar' at the function presided over by senior advocate J. Krishnamachari. This was followed by the Bharatanatyam performance of her disciples Nandita Krishnan and Nivedita Krishnan.

Striking choreography

After the remarkable Bharatanatyam performance of Janani Suresh, a former disciple of K.J. Sarasa and presently training under Lavanya Sankar, Himaja Ramsharan's students presented a dance ballet, ‘Paranthama Vaibhavam.' Drawing episodes from the puranas, it portrayed the power of bhakti, with the strong message that humility is the greatest virtue of a devotee. Some of the episodes such as the fight between Balarama and Hanuman were new but well-presented. The interesting episodes, colourful costumes and striking choreography (Himaja Ramsharan) kept the audience glued to their seats. The aesthetic performances of Madhuvanthi Sekar, R. Jyothikrithika, Dipika and Ayshwarya made them stand out. P.V. Ramana had scored the music for B. Sundaresan's powerful lyrics. Himaja Ramsharan set the pace with her cymbals and the enjoyable orchestra comprised Sai Srinivasan (vocal support), Thanjavur Chandrasekharan (mridangam), Sikkil Balasubramaniam (violin) and P.V. Ramanaa (flute).

Captivating show

Bangalore-based Srilakshmi Ranganath's Bharatanatyam recital was captivating. A post graduate in engineering and a senior disciple of Padmini Ramachandran, she is one of the exponents of the Vazhuvur bani. The varnam by Dandayuthapani Pillai in Sankarabharanam, ‘Sakhiye Indha Jaalam Enadi', was impressive with admirable abhinayas, nimble footwork and graceful movements. The crafty Mantara and the gullible Kaikeyi were brought alive on stage when she presented ‘Raamanukku Mannan Mudi,' by Arunachalakkavirayar. How persistent was Mantara in changing the mind of Kaikeyi though she resisted her machination vehemently! And finally, when Kaikeyi retired to the ‘kopagraha,' fully brain-washed, one had to sigh at the power of evil over good.

Mithun Shyam's nattuvangam was crisp. Balasubramania Sharma's powerful vocal support, Srihari's mridangam and Narasimha Murthy's flute created a wonderful background for Srilakshmi's performance.

Remarkable team work

Gayathri Sriram's ‘Panchakanya' was classy. The very concept of ‘Panchakanya' glorifies the courage of the five women - Ahalya, Tara, Draupadi, Mandodhari and Sita - who suffered a lot but kept their dignity.

The beautiful Ahalya deceived by Indra and cursed by her husband; the astute Tara who supported her husband Vali, but married his brother Sugreeva after he was killed in order to keep peace in the kingdom; Princess Draupadi, who was let down by all her five husbands but protected her honour with her own devotion; Mandodhari, the wife of Ravana who was devoted to him in spite of his wandering ways; and Sita, a symbol of purity who had to suffer ignominy in spite of proving her chastity by entering into the fire. Gayathri infused life into those characters on stage.

The demanding standards of Guru Minal Prabhu's choreography were met with ease by the brilliant disciple.

Minal Prabhu (Nattuvangam), Balasubramania Sharma (vocal support), Gurumurthy (mridangam), Narasimhamurthy (flute) and Srinivas (sitar) deserve kudos for their remarkable team effort. The excellent introduction too had a big role in making the presentation more impressive.