Dance

Back with a firm step

Bharatanatyam dancer Mythili Prakash performing at the Music Academy in Chennai. Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN

Mythili’s recital marked her re-entry into Chennai’s dance circuit after an absence. With the dancer looking much the same after motherhood, the nritta part of her Bharatanatyam, grammatically flawless, however, would seem to need more time to regain the chiselled profile of movement.

The opening was ‘Nritta Lahari,’ inspired by the Pallavi in Odissi. The music in Nalinakanti, composed by Aditya Prakash comprised the ‘tarijham’ rhythmic syllables, typical of the Odissi vocabulary. The item, with guidance from Odissi specialist Madhavi Mudgal, was an example of how different dance traditions, while not deviating from their concerned grammar and technique can enrich the repertoire through a cross-pollination of ideas.

The Lalgudi Jayaraman varnam in Charukesi, ‘Innum En Manam Theriyadavarpol’ shows the nayika asking Krishna the winsome trickster, if there is any need for his feigning ignorance of her feelings for him. The dancer’s interpretation along with the charanam line, exhorting the beauty of the flute-playing Lord, had conviction. The jathi interludes with nattuvangam by Jayashree Ramanathan and K.R. Ramesh Babu on mridangam, met with laya-correct execution, though stances and movements in hand and leg stretches fell short of the linear tautness.

The singing by Aditya Prakash, in the elaborations woven round each line tended to stray too far away from the original composition. While variations become inevitable with the dancer’s ‘sancharis’, the nuances cannot be free-wheeling as it loses the original format devised by the composer.

The highpoint for this critic was the purely interpretative segment, Muthutandavar’s padam in Khamas, ‘Theruvil Vaaraano Ennai Chatru Thirumbi Paaraano’ in both musical rendition and the dance, evocatively caught the nostalgic vibes of the nayika’s yearning that the Lord in procession, would turn his head and spare her a glance.

Equally moving was the next lyric, ‘Rusali Radha, Rusala Madhav, Rusale Gokul sare’ in Yaman. With Radha and Madhav having had a tiff, the whole of Nature in Brindavan seems to become sullen. When the lovers patch up, Nature responds with joyousness.

The finale had Lalgudi Jayaraman’s thillana in Madhuvanti.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 10:19:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/Back-with-a-firm-step/article14012084.ece

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