Dance

A fitting tribute to the guru

Lessons well learnt Lucrezia Maniscotti  

There is no greater tribute to a guru than to maintain the high standards he lived by. Guru Adyar K. Lakshman’s legacy is one such that will live on through his eminent students and through the beauty of his Bharatanatyam dance compositions. His hallmark rhythmic passages seem straightforward but are full of sudden twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. They reflect a master of rhythm, who was simple, humble and playful all at once.

Italian Bharatanatyam dancer Lucrezia Maniscotti, also a disciple of the late maestro, Bhagavatula Seetharama Sharma and Indira Kadambi, dedicated her performance, for Sampoornam Foundation for Music and Arts, to Guru Lakshman. The old-world charm in Lucrezia’s style and the exemplary performances by the musicians made it a memorable homage.

There was an intensity that Lucrezia brought to every movement and nuance; her pure dance sequences were packed with energy and strong stamps even as the emotive delineations were clear and unhurried. If she had had any culture-specific challenges, in the lyrics or expressions, she surmounted them. She displayed a strong identification with the art form.

The Nattakurinji varnam, ‘Swami naan undan adimai’ (Adi, Papanasam Sivan, composition by Guru Lakshman), brought all these factors to the forefront. Guru Lakshman’s jatis were poetic— simple phrases in chatusra given a tisra feel in the third speed in the trikala jati, the alternating gatis of four and three within one avarthanam in the next jati and a three-beat step performed for five-beat sollus in another. The lilting cadence of dancer Jayanthi Subramanian’s sollu recitation and firm nattuvangam enhanced these rhythmic punches; L. Babaprasad’s dancing fingers echoed his father, Lakshman’s rhythm.

The interpretation of the lyrics was purely devotional, though the varnam is usually treated with both romance and devotion. Lucrezia’s adoration of the dancing god Nataraja as she performed puja was natural and unhurried. The sarcasm of a heroine who has been jilted by Muruga in ‘Ellam ariven pomayya’ (Kalyani, Kavi Kunjara Bharati) and the enthusiasm of a heroine waiting for a glimpse of the majestic Siva in ‘Theruvil varano’ (Khamas, Rupaka, Muthu Thandavar) were more than just convincing.

In the latter, the heroine dreams of Siva pausing outside her home and retracing a few steps just to give her a meaningful look, in a sensitive aside to the main lines. Jyothishmathi Sheejith’s soulful music raised the level of excellence while Kalaiarasan’s shadowing and tangential bowing was most appreciated. A homage that Guru Lakshman would have been happy with.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 10:13:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/A-fitting-tribute-to-the-guru/article14588960.ece

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