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PRABAL GUPTA
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DANCE The Ankura Festival presented many vibrant recitals by upcoming dancers

A nkura Festival 2010 commenced with Parvati Balakrishnan – among the promising upcoming dancers and a disciple of guru B. Bhanumati. Commencing her recital with a Pushpanjali set to Nadaswaravali raga in aditala with the dance design by Guru B. Bhanumati, the dancer offered salutation to the different angles of the proscenium followed by a salutation to Lord Ganesha “Vakratunda Mahakaya” as an offering to the remover of impediments. The Dandayudhapani Pillai's varnam “Swaiyae Arai Todi Va” propitiating Lord Shiva set to raag Navaragamalika in aditala proves the dancer's hold over the artistry on the crowning piece of a bharatanatya repertoire. With a strong hold over the talas and neat execution of the adavus, and neat teermanams, an aficionado can relish every moment of the abhinaya being executed artistically with an overall slow pace aggrandising the overall effect of the choreographies. One must even genuflect the balanced lilting movements set to the swara “Tom jhanu nam jhanu”. The concluding Tamil padam with the first half pivoting around Ramayana and the second half on Bhagavadgita, the dancer brought out mellifluously the various episodes in high aesthetic order. For one must have felt the unbalanced singing genus by the vocalist Nanda Kumar whose tendency of chewing words while executing the lyrics marred the overall effect of the performance.

The Mohiniyattam performance by Madhu Chandran, daughter, disciple of Girija Chandran from Trivandrum was by far the brightest performance in the whole series of Ankura. Also trained in Kathakali, this young aspirant of Mohiniyattam has imbibed the subtlest of the abhinaya nuances which this classical genre demands. Tastefully costumed, Madhu, commenced her recital with a composition by Pondanam set in 17 {+t} {+h} century to eulogise Lord Guruvayurappan. Entering the stage with an aesthetic-lighted deepam, Madhu immediately enraptured the audience. Graceful circular and semi-circular movements ingrained in the art through deliberate practice of chuzzipoos marked the essence of her performance. In “Anjana Sree Dhara Charumurthae Krishna” set to Ragamalika in Chempada tala, this dancer's diligence in understanding the nuances of the dance form and presenting the same aesthetically was evident. Neat mandala sthanas, coupled with correct usage of mudras from “Hastalakshana Deepika” and “Balarama Bharatam” marked the quintessence of her performance. With a varnam set to raga Dhanyasi in Chempada tala, the dancer's maturity in handling the karuna rasa, especially while executing “…. Manae Ida Muchitam” spoke forth of her assiduous training. With the charanam moving around the depictions of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu with the lyrics “Krishna Divyamurthae” with the vocalists' awesome voice rendition reverberating, speaks for a rounded performance. The dancer concluded her recital with a composition penned by Kavalam Narayana Panickker alleviating Goddess Kali. A spellbound choreography set by Girija Chandran with awesome meivazhakam and beautiful charis accrued with aesthetically drawn abhinaya. Medini Atreya disciple of Guru Sridhar and Anuradha Sridhar featured on the second day commenced her recital with Nrityanjali, a choreography set by Guru Sridhar followed with a Ganapati Stuti in Arabhi set to aditala. For one who has witnessed the dancer's arangetram will definitely vouch for her former performance to be comparatively better; the zest with which the Natakuranji Varnam penned by Papanasam Sivan was presented speaks forth for her perseverance as a dancer.

PRABAL GUPTA

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