Dance

Visual poetry

GRACE: Alarmel Valli. Photo: M. Vedhan   | Photo Credit: M_VEDHAN

All grace and pep, her entry into the performing space was like a cascading waterfall that leaps with joy. “Only Until The Light fades” unfolded as an event that blended poetry and dance as one and where Alarmel Valli's lustrous dancing charmed rasikas with her multidimensional insights into abhinaya. As one who enjoys the dizzy heights of fame with her adherence to classicism and dedication in Bharatanatyam, Valli 's special thematic programme had raised a lot expectation.

Noted poet Arundhati Subhramaniam 's work ‘Vigil’ combined well with Valli's intriguing interpretation of its nuances. “Love then and now” conceptualised in collaboration with Arundhati Subhramaniam unfolded as a show where talk, dance and pulsating verse had been tuned and performed. Tamil Sangam poetry, a Telugu javali, Kalidasa and Bhoja's Sanskrit slokas offered a panoramic view of not just different periods of literature but underlined the timelessness of the emotional frame of the nayikas – women in love.

Though some pieces were no strangers to the Chennai rasikas, the smooth rendition by the artist glowed with the patina of mastery of bhava. Descriptions of spring and the God of Love conjured up an effervescent mood , with verses from Kalidasa's Ritu Samharam and Nandini Anand's melodious singing. Valli's lithe movements and the hues of her green and blue costume seemed to go hand in glove with the joyful aura.

Alarmel Valli's body language in the next piece was a picture of contrast. Here verses from the Tamil Sangam literature poignantly captured the chill of winter and bleak portrait of loneliness. The sound of the single bell around a bull's neck as it tries to chase away a fly was an impressive portrayal of desolation felt by the solitary heroine.

Humour and sarcasm were thrown up in relief for the Telugu javali, Muttavaddura. The shy confidences of a teenager in love were magic visuals of Tamil Sangam poetry where one 'saw' the swing, the millet field and the gallant lover before the eyes and these paved the way for the much awaited moment: The Diva's interpretation of the poem Vigil.

Arundhati Subhramaniam's throbbing delivery of the poem set the mood. Ragas Hamsanandi, Khamboji employed by Rajkumar Bharati for the poem, recorded voices of the poet and the dancer herself, Tamil translations of selected lines all highlighted the oneness of the psyche of the women in love. With phrases like 'waiting for you', November opacity beautifully fashioned in dance and adding up to a breath stopping whole, the brief tantalizing glimpse of the concluding line, “Only Until The Light fades,” left one longing for more.


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 3:46:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/Visual-poetry/article15786810.ece

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