Dance

Rising stars on stage

Bharatanatyam by Theertha E Poduval

Bharatanatyam by Theertha E Poduval   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

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Up-and-coming classical dancers Theertha E Poduval and Surabhi Nambisan showcased their competence at ‘Bharata Keralam’ in the capital city

‘Bharatha Keralam’ brought together Theertha E Poduval and Surabhi Nambisan, two up-and-coming artistes performing Bharatanatyam and Keralanatanam respectively. Although the name suggested there might be some significance in bringing the two dance forms together, it turned out to be just two separate recitals.

Theertha, a disciple of Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon and a diploma holder from Kalakshetra, began her recital with a Shiva sthuthi in raga Bowli. She had a good start by presenting a variety of Shiva postures and dance segments connecting them.

The chosen varnam for the evening was ‘Chalamela’ in raga Nattakkurinji, a composition of Moolaiveedu Rangasamy Nattuvanar. Her take on the varnam was unique with a prelude ‘Aa Draupadikku valuva sabhalo...’. As the singer began singing the first line of the last charanam followed by a short tanam mixed with alapana, the dancer presented the plight of Draupadi at the Kaurava court. The heroine complaining about why the Lord was not giving her attention made more sense with this short introductory segment, since that was the gist of the varnam. Theertha looked promising as she proceeded with the varnam. A little more involvement in abhinaya and briskness in footwork would have captivated the audience even more.

Since the programme had a delayed start Theertha had to cut short her her recital with ‘Jagadodharana’, the popular Purandara Dasa kriti.

Surabhi Nambisan performing Keralanatanam

Surabhi Nambisan performing Keralanatanam   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N Nampoothiri

Surabhi Nambisan has been learning Keralanatanam under Chithra Mohan for almost 15 years. The recorded tracks proved to be a limiting factor, yet Surabhi tried her best to make a mark during her recital. Surabhi began with ‘Rangavandanam’ and then three more items, which all looked, structurally, the same.

Among them, two were based on the Ramayana and the concluding ‘Soorpanakha’ had some elements to explore. The way she introduced the character was more or less inspired from the ‘Karivattam’ (a stylised self-introduction with impromptu acting seen in Kathakali) and was interesting.

When it comes to pure dance, the repertoire relies heavily on Kathakali in many aspects, and Surabhi came good in performing those kalasams in between the acting portions. However, in the padardhabhinaya (acting the verbal meaning of the lyrics) segment and related improvisations, she wasn’t up to the mark.

Inadequate lighting and the large flex banner in the background hardly enhanced the stage, something the organisers could take note of to make the performances more appealing.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:24:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/theertha-e-poduval-and-surabhi-nambisan-showcased-their-competence-at-bharata-keralam-in-thiruvananthapuram/article28082227.ece

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