MARGAM Srekala's enthusiasm was infectious, even though she breezed through many items. VIDYA SARANYAN
S rekala Bharath's dancing could be likened to a comet - glittering and beautiful but without pausing for a moment of introspection. The experienced dancer-teacher put up a show where one could gauge her nimble footwork and stamina but where the predilection for pace drowned deeper explorations.
Both the opening numbers the Shanmuga kavutuvam in Shanmugapriya and the varnam in Nattakurinji by K. N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai fell prey to this. Still, the dancer retained the classical content of the performance.
Madurai Muralidharan's composing for the kavutuvam captured Lord Muruga's magnificence, which was swiftly translated into dance. The slivers of sollu and the destruction of the asura fell into place with sharpness.
The dancer's fitness and toned physique reflected the dedicated effort she has invested in her dancing. A better balance of skill and showmanship in this recital would have completed the picture of proficiency.
Clarity in lines
The nayika's plaintive appeal to the friend to mediate with Lord Srinivasa was gaily conveyed in the Nattakurinji varnam. The rhythmic passages were given their due in terms of clarity in body lines and grasp of the minute calculations woven in. Yet, the build up of speed from stanza to stanza by both the dancer and the orchestra left an impression of ‘fast forward.'
The nattuvangam and vocals by Padma Raghavan and Bhavani Kishore Kumar which could have helped the dancer stay grounded, also merrily breezed ahead. Notwithstanding this propensity, ideas such as the nayika's distress caused by separation as also her awareness of the Omniscient were strongly represented.
The inclusions of charming kummi-like clapping steps, swivelling moves and shoulder wiggles within the theermanams lent grace to the pure dance.
Srekala's statements such as ‘the thief who stole my heart' were cameos of emotional representations.
For ‘Sabhapatikku Veru Deivam' in Abhogi, the pace slackened a bit and from here on, the dancer put forward varied interpretations in bhakti. Yearning for the divine was introduced in the hymn, ‘Munnam Avan Namam' in ragamalika that preceded this kriti. Nandanar's story of rejection and eventual triumph was a neat sanchari that went well with the lyric.
Srekala's genuineness in Divya Namasankirtanam in Purvikalyani, ‘Vanamali Radha Ramana' was clearly discernible. The dancer's enthusiasm was infectious and soon her brisk steps conveyed cheerfulness to the audience.
Select pasurams ‘Oorile Kaani' from the Divya Prabhandam incorporated a classic flavour to what could have otherwise been a superficial handling of the bhajan.
Srekala wound up on an upbeat note with a thillana in Revathi.