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Yamini Reddy pays an ode to the literary greats

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Kuchipudi danseuse Yamini Reddy and her students tapped the various layers beneath the compositions of legendary poets in the dance presentation ‘Drishya Kaavya’

Noted Kuchipudi dancer Yamini Reddy and her students, with their event ‘Drishya Kaavya’ at Ravindra Bharathi, had reemphasised the importance of dance as ‘poetry in motion’. In a rare evening of dance that gave legendary vernacular poets their due, Yamini had spearheaded a series of performances bringing alive the various philosophical and emotive layers of the works composed by the likes of Swati Tirunal, Oothukkadu Venkatasubbaiyer, Tulsidas, Jayadeva and Narayana Theertha. Kuchipudi legend Raja Reddy had turned a narrator for the same and also did his part in lending the performances a strong classical authority. The technical splendour on the stage, the agility of the dancers were the icing on the cake in this compactly-packaged recital.

Finesse in footwork Yamini Reddy (right) and with her group (top) By arrangement

Finesse in footwork Yamini Reddy (right) and with her group (top) By arrangement  

The narrator provided a subtext in English (and occasionally Hindi) to each of the compositions, stringing through an emotional narrative that dovetailed into the pieces naturally. The essence of the Madhava Panchakam, by Oothukkadu Venkatasubbaiyer in praise of Krishna, beautifully resonated in Yamini’s presentation replete with her jatis and her intricate footwork. The danseuse’s composure and range of expressions came to the fore vividly. A rare Hindi tillana by Swati Tirunal in Dhanashree ragam was explored for its complex rhythm and the result was noteworthy for its nritta and the effort to present the charanam Padmanaabha Tumhaari Leela.

The piece de resistance was, however, the retelling of the Ramayan through Tulsidas’ works, particularly with his Bhajaman Ram Charan, wherein Yamini instilled in the performance the right gravitas through her abhinaya. The episodes involving the golden deer, the mythological characters like Ahalya, Bali and the ultimate vanquishing of the Ravana were imaginatively choreographed as the philosophical value of the Ramayana and the lyrical beauty of Tulsidas’ works were utilised to the fullest. Alternating between Adi and Misrachapu talam in accordance with the ragam (Sindhu Bhairavi and Behaag), an adequate emphasis was placed on poetic appreciation as much as the performance.

The spotlight was on the shringara rasa in Jayadeva’s Rase Harim Iha, taking a spectator through the magnanimity of Lord Krishna and the spell he casts on the gopikas with his antics. The students of Yamini were paired in several groups and had exhibited the right amount of quirks in their expressions with adequate swiftness in their body movements and ease with histrionics. The costumes were perfect for the occasion and so was the timely, expressive commentary from Raja Reddy, whose conclusive act to the piece was the icing on the cake.

It was an interesting choice for Yamini to take up Siva Siva Bhava Bhava, a rare Narayana theertha tarangam written on Lord Shiva. The leadup to the final act began with a performance to the Nirvana Shatakam. The rich imagery of the tarangam exploring the various facets that adorn Shiva, the spontaneous hastaka mudras, the focus on bhava helped Yamini and her group strike an emotional chord with the audiences. The footwork and the coordination of the dancers on the brass plate was unblemished and a sight to behold, especially during their movements to the lines Ananda natana vinoda in various tempos.

A varied lineup of compositions coupled with precise yet effective choreography, credible support from the musicians including Chandrakanth (mridangam), Kausalya Reddy (nattuvangam), Umadevi Ravikanth (vocalist), Shiva Krishna Swaroop (violin) and Kodur Prakash (flute) made sure the evening was a worthy hat-tip to our rich literary past.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 1:51:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/yamini-reddy-through-her-ballet-drishya-kavyam-brings-alive-the-works-of-telugu-poets-of-yore/article30025682.ece

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