Dance

Many moods of Meenakshi

Aesthetic touch: Divya Ravi in performance

Aesthetic touch: Divya Ravi in performance  

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Young dance exponents Divya Ravi and Abhayalakshmi impressed with their craft and expression at the IIC’s Double Bill concert

The recent Double Bill dance concert organised by India International Centre had up-and-coming danseuses Divya Ravi and Abhayalakshmi performing solo Bharatanatyam and Odissi with exquisite expressions.

Divya had the audience in raptures with her exclusive pieces while Abhayalakshmi showcased traditional repertoire from the arsenal of different gurus of Odissi. Divya’s ‘Navarasa navaragamalika’ was an excellent choice to depict the nine artistic moods from the story of goddess Meenakshi of Madurai, each rasa set to a corresponding raga .

Through the episodic narration of Meenakshi’s story, Divya convincingly portrayed the protagonist’s varying moods from vir rasa to shanta with vigour and verve. Her nritta movements and sanchari were marked by tilting grace which endowed her dance with enchanting elegance. The dance to sheer instrumental music was highly impressive. Her jati patterns were as varied and artistic as can be, though her gesticulations (hasta abhinaya) wasn’t diverse as all that. To the line, ‘daya cheyda vundom...’, the artiste showed a questioning gesture; she should have realised that it was more of a statement of fact which only needed a plea and not a question!

The abhanga catapulted Divya as an expressive artiste with high emotional quotient which was not contrived but very natural. The Eknath composition in Marathi was a beautiful piece giving the dancer immense scope to explore her own potential. She had to portray the manifold emotions of love and longing of five individual milk maidens (goudan) – all pining to dally with lord Krsna. And Divya did this with amazing élan – like the distant dreamy look on her face while her hands emulated the churning of butter. To the dancer’s credit it must be said that she was able to portray different movements and gestures with commendable variation and convincing abhinaya.

Novel adaptation

Similarly, among the chosen choreographies of able Odissi gurus, Abhayalakshmi’s own choreography, ‘Meenakshi’ turned out to be the best in her repertoire. Adapting a south Indian deity’s story to the medium of Odissi dance, the artiste was able to mould and merge the two without damaging either which was creditable.

Many moods of Meenakshi

Post eulogy of the goddess, she moved on to depict the processional deity preceded by tala and vadya (music and percussion), a la Mallari-style was artistically beautiful. The Sanskrit text of the song that traced the legend of goddess Meenakshi of Madurai, lent a dignity to this piece. The martial beat of the percussion in the background to a warring Meenakshi made an impression on the audience. In her Ashtapadi, ‘Kesi madana muraram’, Abhayalakshmi’s detailing of the nuances of a stealthy Radha was portrayed with finesse like the snuffing out of the lamp, the darting glances to ascertain that the household was surely asleep, unscrewing of her jingling anklets that might give her away were like intricate trellis carefully woven around the theme.

While the Ashtapadi was Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s, her pallavi was in the Pankaj Charan Das style – an elaborate nritta piece executed with excellent rhythmic patterns. The abhinaya piece was an Odissi song ‘Ki lo sajani...’, again on lord Krsna where her vigorous racy nritta as Krsna was appreciable. With Odissi, it is more or less mandatory that the dancer is within a physical frame if all the characteristics of this dance form like the sway, the torso movement are to be visible with astounding clarity to the audience.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 9:36:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/many-moods-of-meenakshi/article29842823.ece

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