Lines of grace

Sri Ramya   | Photo Credit: Scanned in Chennai R.K. Sridhara

Vasundhara, founder of Srenevasa Cultural Trust and a dance enthusiast, had recently organised a mini-dance festival focusing on up-and-coming young dancers to nurture young talent.

The inaugural day saw a recital by Sri Ramya. She is a vibrant disciple of Padma Raghavan, a former staff member and a senior student of Sree Bharatalaya.

It was an impressive performance, which displayed her innate skill and hard work in her chosen tradition. One could see the stamp of Sudharani, who adhered to the values of nritta and abhinaya of her guru, Thanjavur K.P. Kittappa Pillai.

A spirit of joy pervaded Sri Ramya’s performance, which also extended to the audience. One could feel the elation she was experiencing, as she carefully danced each number with neat lines coated with grace and beauty. Even at this tender age, her hand gestures had a leisurely, mature and rounded touch, adding another dimension to her performance. The propriety and spontaneity she showed is intrinsic and cannot be brought out by practise alone. Both in pure and interpretative aspects, Sri Ramya proved her future is bright provided she continues with the same focus and passion to do her best.

‘Gajavadana Karuna,’ the opening kirtana, was followed by a Jatiswaram that was well-handled by the dancer. The beginning of the Jatiswaram with the poi (as named in certain older traditions) adavu segments gave a firm start to this technical piece, which is almost done away with in the present scene.

However, there was an abridgement of this section, set to glide along with the rendering of the pallavi line, contrary to the past practice of having all the Jatis of rhythm roped in to make it a challenging phase for the nattuvanar and the dancer during this item. But it was consoling to see that at least an attempt to revive these nuances had been made by the teacher and her pupil.

For the Papanasam Sivan varnam, ‘Swami Naan Undan Adimai,’ Sri Ramya exhibited good control over her nritta, with agile movements and effortless execution of complex adavus. But she should correct her basic posture (arai mandi) in which she seemed to follow the current trend. The proper basic posture has a prescribed grammar and if it is done away with, it not only changes the form of the dancer visually but could lead to physical problems later.

The jati patterns in the varnam lacked the traditional order as it did not begin with the Trikaala jati, a must for this number. The traditional approach to this concept of Jati arrangement bore the logical exploration done by the famed Nattuvanars of the past, which, when adhered to, reveals its dignity. The jatis were also kind of disoriented with a jumble of sollus scattered all over. The teacher needs to adopt the art of conducting it in a refined way, especially for the Jatis.

Padma Raghavan should teach more appropriate and intense variety of sancharis based on the capabilities of the student. Sri Ramya has considerable strength in this area of Bharatanatyam too. The focus for the first line, ‘Swami,’ should have addressed direct depictions of the many-splendored Lord Siva-Nataraja. However, the interpretations for Nataraja Deva-Sachidaananda, the lilting refrain in the Charana section had apt narrations that were portrayed by the dancer with refinement.

Sri Ramya, who had a set of seasoned orchestral members with Nandini Anand (vocal), Dr. Vijayaraghavan (violin), Dhananjayan (mridangam) and Padma Raghavan (nattuvangam), led them with confidence.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 10:49:37 PM |

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