Dance

Ragini Chandrasekhar’s tribute to teachers

Balancing act: Ragini Chandrasekhar

Balancing act: Ragini Chandrasekhar  

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Ragini Chandrasekhar’s performance was a garland of fragrant choreographies strung together with love and commitment

It was a pleasure to watch a slice of antiquity come alive. Ragini Chandrasekhar’s tribute to her gurus, including her mother, Jamuna Krishnan, was a garland of fragrant choreographies strung together with love and commitment. Each piece of the margam (stage repertoire) blossomed with excellence of old-time tradition and the artiste did full justice to it with her energetic nritta (footwork) and her expressive abhinaya. The most delightful-to-hear ragas like Nalinikantha, Charukesi, Kamas, Sindhubhairavi and Tilang enriched the performance with a live orchestra.

From the opening Pushpanjali with its varied hastha mudras and intricate rhythmic patterns as she seamlessly shifted the beat (nadai) from Khanda (five) to Chaturasra (four) to laghu and drutha (tala beat) respectively. Despite the linearity of this art form, Ragini brought in an innate elegance to her movements be it in nritta or in expressive dance.

At the very outset, it deserves to be mentioned that her performance made a lasting impression on the viewer as she danced from her soul which was so evident by the way her eyes worked in tandem with footwork (nritta) and gestures in the absence of a song. The varnam established her stamina to say the least. The long-drawn Charukesi composition of Lalgudi Jayaram prefaced by an(invocatory verse (viruttam) from the Mukundamala, was an acid test to the prowess of this dancer and she came out with flying colours. Her footwork to swar (bhol) was complimentary to the rhapsodic raga and vice-versa. Every verse had its exposition done with perfection: emotive element intact, precision and accuracy in execution of the most intricate jati (footwork) patterns, clarity in hastha mudra (gesticulations). Ragini’s strength is her natural, uncontrived facial expression while undertaking complex, lengthy footwork delineations, experiencing her own dance with a sense of joy.

The metaphor of the honey bee hovering and flitting from flower to flower was a very suggestive way of conveying Krsna’s dallying personality done with élan. Her abhinaya and sanchari to the lines, kuzhaloodum azagha kanna (melodic beauty of Kanha’s flute). The muralidhar mudra and the nritta therein was very impressive. Her ‘mugdha nayika’ (guileless maiden) portrayal for the Kamas javali was a combination of complex feelings and expressions of amorous desire, defiance, delightful passion – all overcrowding the nubile maiden torn between love with her lord Venkateswara and wise and cautious counsel of an experienced senior maiden.

While the other pieces were those of her old gurus, the one from Vidyapathi’s poem-was her mother’s choreography – the pining of Krsna for a glimpse of his Radha who left him in a huff. The dancer brought out the emotional situation quite convincingly but the depiction of his valour that also forms part of the song, disturbed the sensitivity of this theme. The concluding tillana was again pure dance with verve and vigour, which, by now, seemed to be the trademark of this fine artiste, who should continue to explore her forte in ancient dance style.

Raghavendra Prasath’s violin that prefaced each piece was melodic to the core. Sharanya Chandran on nattuvangam was compelling as was Chandrasekhar on the percussion. Venkateswaran’s vocal support complimented the performance held at India International Centre.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 6:59:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/ragini-chandrasekhars-tribute-to-teachers/article29911356.ece

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