Reinforcing the truth that command over music makes for a superior dancer was Uma Nambudripad Sathyanarayanan.
The singer-dancer Uma began with a grace-filled prayer and ‘Ode to the Ganges.' The visualisation was by her guru Chitra Visveswaran based on the music in Puryadhanasri composed by the late Visveswaran.
Paced variously suiting the many moods of the Ganga, with the chant ‘Bhagavathi Gange Divya Tarange' woven into the narrative, Uma's rendition had both grace and invocatory reverence.
With Chitra Visveswaran conducting the programme and Murali Parthasarathy providing bhava-filled singing, “Nadanai Azhaittu Vaa,” the Khambodi varnam of Tiruveezhimizhalai Natarajasundaram Pillai saw the artist as a nayika who cajoles, reprimands, commands, and bribes the sakhi to act as a messenger of love to draw Lord Muruga to her side. The joy of sambhoga sringara was sensitively brought out in the line ‘Endan Kadhalai Arindavar Kanam Pirivaro.'
In conveying the greatness of Karthikeya in the charanam refrain ‘Nadopadesam Arulvai Sundaram,' a fleeting sanchari showing his mighty father Siva himself being overawed by the son who initiates him into chanting the Omkara mantra, was very effective.
What gave impact to the interspersed theermanam passages was not just precision in grace in Uma's dance, but also the perfect cadence coordination in the accented points of the dancer's rhythm with the emphasised ‘sollus' in Chitra's nattuvangam.
In Purandaradasa's Kapi lyric ‘Jagadodharana,' the interpretation of the line ‘Aprameyana…' had an individualistic touch.
While dancers conventionally conform to a uniform mother/child vatsalya relationship in treating what is regarded as a lullaby, with Yashoda being stunned by the vision of her foster child's omnipotence reflected in his tiny open mouth, Uma's version, as conceived by her guru, looked at the cosmic vision from the poet's perspective (and perhaps as story telling by Yashoda), the nuanced interpretation also portraying the Gitopadesa scene with Arjuna being treated to the cosmic vision of Krishna.
Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar's thillana in Paras concluded the performance.
Nellai D. Kannan on the mridangam, Sikhamani on the violin and R. Thiagarajan on the flute completed the experienced musical team. Sukanya Ravindhar as the compere was clear and to the point.