Dance

Captivating comeback

Kuchipudi recital by Arya A.R. at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri   | Photo Credit: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri



Young dancers leaving the stage to focus on academics and family is not a rarity in Kerala. But dancers making a comeback, that too after nearly a decade, is rare. For those who still remember Arya A.R. – the school youth festival talent who later became popular through her mini-screen appearances – it was joyous to see her back on the dance stage, that too in a meaningful way by presenting a full-length Kuchipudi recital.

Arya opened with Oothukadu Venkata Kavi’s ‘Anandanartana Ganapathi…’ (Gambheera Natta, Adi). Although she was making a comeback after a long gap, it hardly reflected on the stage and it seemed like she took off from where she had left off years ago. The danseuse’s exhilaration was evident and what would have been a better choice than this composition that portrays Lord Ganesha himself doing the blissful dance!

Siddendra Yogi’s ‘Bhamakalapam’ and Narayana Theertha’s ‘Balagopala Tarangam’ – two weighty items in the Kuchipudi repertoire followed. Both dance and abhinaya are covered in the two. Being well in control of her expressions, Arya made the character of Satyabhama lively. Her role-play abilities also stood out, as she narrated the story of prince Dhruva during the tarangam. It would have been even more captivating had she not rushed through the abhinaya segments and presented it with a bit more gravity.

The dance phrases in between and the steps on the brim of the brass plate were good enough for a danseuse making her comeback. It will be a little too early to compare her with seasoned dancers. However, one feels that once she becomes more self-assured of her footwork and coordinated body movements, she could easily match up to them.

If it was Lord Ganesha doing the dance of joy in the opening piece, the ‘Anandatandavam’ that followed had Lord Siva’s dance of ecstasy and Arya performed that too with equal involvement. It was followed by a Jayadeva Ashtapadi in ragamalika. Alamelumanga is being carried by palanquin bearers and the poet asks them to be gentle; Annamacharya’s ‘Kulukaka Nadavaro...’ (Atana, Adi) was presented next. The composition itself being one in a lighter vein, the danseuse appeared to be more at ease. Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar’s thillana set to Kedaram was the concluding piece.

Madhavi Chandran on nattuvangam was in sync with the vocalist. Changanassery T.S. Satheesh Kumar, on the mridangam, was at his best during the jatis, some of them being his own creations. Sreekumar (violin), Vijayan Karunagappally (flute) and V. Soundararajan (veena) were the other accompaniments. It was yet another instance that proved that adding more instruments calls for proper orchestration to get the best out of the musicians.

The event was organised under the aegis of Regatta Cultural Society at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan, in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:57:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/Captivating-comeback/article14412430.ece

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