Dance

Adding to her guru’s vision

Ramya Rajeshkumar  

An old-world charm prevailed at Bharatanatyam dancer Ramya Rajeshkumar’s performance for Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha. She is a senior disciple of the late guru K.J. Sarasa of the Vazhuvoor style, and although she has developed her own sense of aesthetics, she has adhered to her guru’s broad template.

There were a few choreographies of the guru as well — the invocatory ‘Vaarana Mukha Vaa,’ the finale, a combination of a thillana in Khamas (Patnam Subramanya Iyer) and an Annamacharya kriti, ‘Dolayam.’ There was also a re-worked choreography from guru Sarasa’s repertoire, varnam, ‘Innum en manam’ (Charukesi, adi, Lalgudi G. Jayaraman).

Ramya was also accompanied by senior musician and Harikatha specialist Girija Ramaswamy, who used to be guru Sarasa’s popular choice in her later years.

Ramya’s style is calm with enjoyable rhythm, without over dramatisation of either rhythm or bhava. There is no slick superficiality either. Having been a dancer for at least three decades and now running a dance school, Geetha Nrithyalaya, Ramya’s experience and maturity comes through. Her abhinaya is especially clear, without inhibition, and quite spontaneous. Her nritta is a bit heavy, though much improved over the last few years. Her footwork is, however, commendable, with every stamp plainly audible.

True to expectation, the varnam brimmed with sancharis : the nayika yearning for Madhava, sends a peacock, a calf and a bee as messengers to him but the efforts turn futile as they are either ashamed of their own feathers seeing Krishna’s, or they are drawn to his music or curly hair, forgetting their errands. The nayika reminisces about their friendship from childhood as they grew up together. These stories were enjoyable deviations that reinforced the text.

Ramya’s most internalised presentation was the Tamil padam, ‘Netrandhi nerathile’ (Huseni, Rupaka, Subbarama Iyer) in which the heroine questions Subramanya about a woman who had tried to catch his attention and flirt with him at the river bank the previous evening. The heroine describes the different ways in which the other woman tried to catch his attention — such as making sounds with her ankle bells and bangles, throwing a pebble coyly etc. This was Ramya’s glorious moment of artistry. The subsequent ‘Vishamakara Kannan’ (Chenchuruti, adi, Oothukadu Venkatasubbier) was amusing but did not have the required timing for the punch lines.

The music was most enjoyable, and particularly so through the Charukesi and Huseni compositions. Girija was supported by the skilled violinist M.S. Kannan. Jayashree’s nattuvangam was outstanding, as her firm and unobtrusive style gave maximum support and room to the dancer at the same time. Dhananjayan (mridangam) played with dexterity.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 11:24:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/ramya-rajeshkumars-style-is-calm-and-had-an-enjoyable-rhythm/article8193664.ece

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