Pranathi Ramadorai, a student of guru Rhadha, belongs to the Vazhuvoor bani and learnt from the doyen himself. Her Bharatanatyam recital at Vani Mahal was a happy confluence of talents — of the composers, the dancer, the nattuvanar and the choreographer (Rhadha), and the musicians (vocalist Nandini Anand, flautist Sruthi Sagar, mridangist Vijayaraghavan and violinist Kalaiarasan).
The performance was a bit longer than usual, 100 minutes, filled with melodious compositions, some unusual. The opening Mahalinga Kavuthuvam, from the traditional Vazhuvoor repertoire in Begada (Eka tala), by Gangaimuthu Nattuvanar was one such. Unusual syllables such as ‘thagatha thagatha thana’ in 8s and ‘tha kudu dhi kudu ton gudu nan gudu’ in tisra were exciting to hear and watch. Guru Rhadha’s nattuvangam was exemplary here as all through the recital. The ragamalika jatiswaram (Mishra Chapu), by the Thanjavur Quartet, starting with Kalyani, was marked by clean steps, good timing and agility. An awkward elbow during the ‘tharikitathom’ step may need correction.
The Gambhiranattai, Adi, pada varnam ‘Amma anandadayini’ with back to back jathi pairs, was demanding. They were a mix of Vazhuvoor favourites and newer ones. Guru Rhadha has been extending her repertoire and that’s a good thing because the steps she employs are still rounded and quaint, as against the new age linear vocabulary that has caught everyone’s fancy. Her nattuvangam with Vijayaraghavan’s percussion lent sharpness to the nritta.
As one enjoyed the unbroken melody from Nandini, the dancer paid homage to ‘Devi’ as the compassionate one who fed the hungry child Sambandar, and as one with the Navarasa emotions towards Shiva.
The emotive pieces were light — ‘Chaliye’ (Brindavana Saranga, Swati Tirunal), ‘Paal vadiyum mugam’ (Nattakurinji, Oothukadu Venkatasubbaiyer) and ‘Karpagame’ (Madhyamavati, Papanasam Sivan). The musical score was emotive with Sruthi Sagar, Nandini and Kalaiarasan coordinating very well.
The Nalinakanti thillana (Lalgudi Jayaraman) brought the evening of melodies to a spirited finale.