Disciple reflects guru’s style

Madhumitha Sriram performing at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

Madhumitha Sriram’s performance proved once again A. Lakshmanaswamy’s credentials as a teacher. Her presentation for Kala Pradarshini’s 20th Annual Natya Festival, organised by senior Bharatanatyam dancer-teacher Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, showcased her training. Her adavus were graceful and well-timed, while her expressions were dignified.

Her storytelling episodes (sancharis), an important part of the Guru K.J.Sarasa-style, had an easy flow. She needs to work on an incorrect araimandi and some awkwardness that creeps in during moments such as walking back and forth during a piece.

The well-practised repertoire consisted of Pushpanjali (Simhendramadhyamam, Adi, K. Hariprasad) and an ode to the goddess of the arts and knowledge, Saraswati (‘Sangeetha Devathe,’ Mayamalavagowla, Adi, Ambujam Krishna), followed by the Charukesi varnam (‘Innum en manam’, Adi, Lalgudi G. Jayaraman), a kriti ‘Karya karana swaroopane’ (Surya, misra chapu, Lalitha Sivakumar), a padam ‘ Aduvum solluvaal’ (Saurashtra, Adi, Vaitheeswaran koil Subbarama Iyer) and a thillana (Kadanakuthuhalam, Adi, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna).

Old world charm

The jathis of the varnam were adapted or elongated versions of Guru Sarasa’s. By extending the tisra sequence and adding an ending theermana adavu in the trikaala jathi, Lakshmanaswamy did well not to spoil its old-world beauty. So also for the other jathis. Sivaprasad (mridangam) was a strong support for the dancer with free flow of rhythm, but only during the musical interludes. Dancer and disciple of Lakshmanaswamy, Sudharma Vaithiyanathan handled the cymbals deftly.

There was an interesting collection of Krishna leelas depicted in chronological order in the anupallavi, ‘Munnam payindrado..’. The charanam section felt a bit rushed, and in the line, ‘Muzhumadiyaikkanda’ that speaks of the heroine awaiting Krishna’s attention so her ‘life, body and heart’ bloom just as the waves respond to the full moon and the saplings sprout in the rain, the sthayi of the nayika yearning was lost in the depiction of the rain etc.

Lakshmanaswamy’s abhinaya talent was reflected by the student in the padam, especially in the beginning when the dancer sets the stage for the piece — she sits with her friends to play dice, when someone tells her that an old friend is speaking ill of her. The song is the heroine’s response, ‘It’s not her fault that she has put on airs and speaks ill of me, it is because of Muruga who gave the penniless woman so much and set her up as my rival, that she is overcome by pride, thinking that there is no greater woman than her.’ The descriptive lyrics were especially enjoyable with Girija Ramaswamy’s clear enunciation and melodious singing. The melody was enhanced by an untiring violinist, Lakshmi.

One can look forward to Madhumitha maturing as a well-rounded Bharatanatyam dancer.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 3:28:27 AM |

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