In step with the Vazhuvoor bani

Anwesha Das performing at Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai on December 19, 2018.

Anwesha Das performing at Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai on December 19, 2018.   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

The Vazhuvoor bani that well-known Bharatanatyam dancer Urmila Sathyanarayanan and her Natya Sankalpaa Academy of Indian Classical Dance and Music follow, is heavy on dramatisation, uses the lasya style, which is softer, graceful movements, has a faster pace in adavus and footwork, and introduces leaps within the rhythmic sequences.

Ideally, this requires a dancer who is on top of her game in fitness and flexibility and one who is relatively uninhibited to emote in front of an audience. Up and coming Bharatanatyam dancer Anwesha Das, a student of Urmila, has developed these attributes admirably. Her recital celebrated high energy, perfect finishes and vivid portrayals.

Taking off from the strong nattuvangam (Saikripa Prasanna) and the equally strong and brisk percussive support (Guru Bharadwaj), Anwesha’s opening khanda-gati Mayura Alarippu was marked by strong and sharp movements. Saikripa’s flexible wrists with the cymbals and Guru’s unerring guidance provided impetus for Anwesha’s untiring execution of jathis in the Dhandayuthapani Pillai’s Kharaharapriya pada varnam, ‘Mohamaginen’. Every jathi was distinctive – the trikaala, the madhyama kaala with symbolic references to Siva, the rhythmically enjoyable tisra, and the alternating speeds in the last before the mukthayi swara passage.

Anwesha’s timing was spot on, and in one instance, when after the tisra jathi, the anupallavi line, ‘Yogamigum ambalam thannil natanamaadum’ was delineated, a well-known Nataraja Pattu describing the Lord’s cosmic dance, ‘Maanaada Mazhuvaada’ in tisram was introduced. The transition from the 3-beat tisra to the 8-beat ‘Takita takita taka’ of the thattu mettu of the anupallavi was made without a blink, so to speak.

There was no wasted opportunity in the dramatisation, whether in the nritta or abhinaya of the varnam. The lovelorn maiden is reminded of her paramour through the five senses. Anwesha has matured in her role-play. Her best was the padam ‘Aduvum solluvaal’ (Saurashtram, Adi, Vaitheeswarankoil Subbarama Iyer) in which the heroine dismisses reports of another woman’s taunts, saying it is Muruga’s fault for showering wealth on a penniless woman which has fuelled her arrogance. R. Kalaiarasan (violin) and Binu (vocal)’s tunefulness gave it added impetus.

The dancer’s energy in the Brindavanasaranga thillana (Adi, Dr. Balamurali Krishna, choreographed by Guru K.J.Sarasa) was notable at the end of the 75-minute recital. The reassuring presence of her teacher, Urmila, who was the master of ceremonies, may have contributed to Anwesha’s confidence.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 12:42:03 AM |

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