With splendid musical support, Mythili Prakash proved her mettle. RUPA SRIKANTH

Dynamic Bharatanatyam dancer Mythili Prakash's musical ensemble can easily be termed as the ‘best of the season.' With dancer-choreographer Sheejith Krishna conducting the show and Mythili's talented musician-brother Aditya Prakash singing, along with V. Vedakrishnan (mridangam), Easwar Ramakrishnan (violin) and T.Shashidhar (flute), there could have been no greater support for the dancer.

Mythili's performance was dramatic and glossy enough to satisfy rasikas, but there were cracks in the sheen that required attention. Her style has moved from the early rhythmic frenzy to a quieter balanced repertoire that seeks to touch the heart. It is good to see her creative juices flowing because that is what separates a performer from an artist, but she needs to intensify her engagement and polish her nritta.

Mythili's story reads like a fairytale. She burst on to the Chennai scene a few years ago in a cloud of fireworks as a next-gen Bharatanatyam dancer. She electrified the stage with her confidence and dramatic timing and became an instant ‘hit' in the cultural citadel. She has not lost that touch.

In the opening ‘Shivoham,' Mythili showed her remarkable bent of mind when she completed the meditative Siva Pratah Smarana Stothra and immediately jumped into a vigorous Siva Tandava with damaru in the excerpt from the ‘Gale Bhujanga' bhajan in Basanth raga, misra chapu tala. Her inputs in the varnam composed by Aditya in ragamalika, Adi tala, with verses from Krishna Karnamrutham were also interesting as in the treatment of the mukthayi section that had sahitya, multiple swaras, and a recap of pallavi and anupallavi lyric. The charanam ‘Kadambamole' picturising Krishna playing the flute under the Kadamba tree (and mesmerising all) was stylishly repeated after every charanam swara, with images of Krishna, the bird, the peacock and the calves. The varnam was taken to a crescendo with inspired music and a fast-paced raaslila with Krishna and the gopis.

The Ashtapadi, ‘Radhika Tava Virahe' (Vasanthi, Adi) tuned by Dr. Balamuralikrishna, in which the friend tells Krishna about Radha's desolation, was another piece that came together beautifully. The role-play was good, the music excellent and the percussion inspiring. Sheejith and Vedakrishna managed to augment the recital without taking attention from the dance. They were an unbeatable combination. Mythili concluded with a thillana (Dhanasri, Swati Tirunal composition tuned by Lalgudi Jayaraman) and a Sant Tukaram abhang.