Dance

Young brigade to the fore

Students of Dhananjayan performing at Sri Kapaliswarar Temple Photo : S. R. Raghunathan   | Photo Credit: S_R_Raghunathan

Vasant Utsav 2016, a dance festival held in memory of Indira Gariyali, offered a platform for young talent across classical dance styles.

Uma Venkatraman is a disciple of Pushkala Gopal, London, and by default, of gurus Shanta and V.P. Dhananjayan. Her 45-minute presentation gave a glimpse of what the talented, sprightly and earnest young dancer is capable of. The repertoire was befitting the Kapaliswarar temple venue.

After a brisk tisra alarippu, Uma presented ‘Idathu padam thooki aadum’ (Khamas, Adi, Papanasam Sivan) on the dancing feet of Nataraja. Choreographed by Pushkala, it was a delightful piece re-creating the cosmic dance, through friezes and short nritta sequences in khanda and tisra gatis. The description of Nataraja’s accessories depicted with softness contrasted with the strength and vigour of the steps, and stood out as an interesting choreographic feature.

The beautiful ragamalika, ‘Karpakavalli nin porpadangal’ (Adi, Yazhpaanam Veeramani Iyer) addressed to the goddess Karpagambal was a prayer depicted with sensitivity. This was visualised by Shanta. The dancer showed depth in her involvement and danced without self-consciousness. Uma concluded with a bright Nrittaangahaaram (Behag, Khanda eaka, music: Turaiyur Rajagopala Sarma and choreography: Dhananjayans) in praise of Kapaleeswarar.

Following the award ceremony (in which eminent artists from various disciplines were honoured), was a Bharatanatyam presentation by Bharatakalanjali’s students — Sadashi, Sukanya, Meenakshi, Amritavarshini Sushmita, Shreemathi, Muktha, Jayashree, Apoorva, Varsha, Divya and Reshmi. The programme titled ‘Naatya Darshan’ was put together by senior faculty member, Anusha Natarajan.

The invocation commenced with the stunning image of a darkened stage lit only by the dancers’ small oil lamps. They confidently displayed their coordination and timing. One of the standout pieces was an ode to Sri Ranganatha, ‘En Palli Kondeerayya’ (ragamalika, adi, Arunachala Kavi), in which the devotee asks whether Ranganatha was resting after His ordeals in the Ramaavatara and Krishnaavatara. To expand on the lyrics, the dancers did a crisp recap of the Ramayana and some of Krishna’s leelas as fast-paced freizes, alternating without a time lag.

While coordination and uniformity were the bywords, feeling or involvement in the lyrics was not sacrificed either.

Another notable entry in ‘Shankara Sree Giri’ (Hamsanandi, adi, Swati Thirunal) was accentuated by interesting steps and brisk dancing. The group finished with a lively Nrittaaangahaaram (Shanmukhapriya, adi).

The orchestra was common to both Bharatanatyam segments. An efficient combination of Divya Shivasundar (nattuvangam) and Nagarajan (mridangam) were supported by Rajesh M.K. (vocal), Rijesh Gopalakrishnan (violin) and Sujith Nayak (flute). While there was harmony, the music did not rise above competency.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 5:15:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/vasant-utsav-2016-a-dance-festival-held-in-memory-of-indira-gariyali/article8590127.ece

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