Dance

Celebrating festive spirit

The invite spells out a Bharatanatyam performance by a senior artiste from Chennai and the audience is in for a surprise: another artiste is on stage whose name in no way comes close to the one on the original invitation. Well, dance makes for a pleasant evening and so we sat to watch Janani Murali do a Bharatanatyam solo with due credence to the ongoing Navaratri festival.

The piece on Mother goddess, to begin with was a heady mixture of two lines from a Dikshitar kriti (Ardhanareeswaram..), a bit of Durga Saptashati slokas, followed by Adi Sankara’s invocations to the goddess-well none of the verses were allowed to chart a legitimate conclusion. The abhinaya to ‘roopam dehi… jayam dehi, yasho dehi, dwisho jahi’ repeatedly tried to sketch out a figure in the space rather than show one’s own person since the essence of the sloka is Advaitic and recognizes our own form as a reflection of the goddess. Sensitivity to lyric has to be the base from where expression springs forth. Continuous rotation to namavali of the goddess looked very frivolous from the classical point of view though the artiste struck good postures.

The Devaranama was a lighter one and Janani’s abhinaya was at its artistic best while narrating the tales from Bhagavatam. Krsna’s pranks, the vexed women folk of Dwaraka including foster mother Yashoda and a few incidents were brought out with clarity. Bharatiyar’s ‘Dikku teriyada kattil..’ sounded good on recorded music but the artiste finished it with light-footed movements sans any footwork. It was like a Thyagaraja devotional sung sans manodharma at a classical katcheri. Whatever be the composition chosen for dance, it would rise to the classical standards only when jatis/swara are interlaced to make it danceable. The ‘unique’ keertana that was announced turned out to be rather bizarre since the song itself juxtaposed lord Kanda (Subramanya) and lord Krsna. It tried to draw parallels in vain and set to ragamalika which also didn’t gel, Janani’s efforts to pull together two varied theologies just fell flat, though her depiction of Kanda was more convincing with deft movements. By and large, the artiste needs to work on her nritta (footwork) which is the benchmark of classicality. Ananya Nrityollasa needs to be more sensitive towards its audience.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 11:03:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/celebrating-festive-spirit/article6485584.ece

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