MUSIC & DANCE Friday Review

She excels in abhinaya

Ramya Ramnarayan. Photo: M. Vedhan

Ramya Ramnarayan. Photo: M. Vedhan  

Ramya Ramnarayan’s deft exposition of a spectrum of sentiments reflected the considerable homework put into internalising the finer aspects of Bharatanatyam. A student of Swamimalai S.K. Rajaratnam Pillai and Kalanidhi Narayanan, this U.S. based artist is an experienced Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer and teacher whose performance reflected the sophisticated air of her style.

She opened with songs from the Divyaprabandham that included Paasurams such as the Pallaandu, Pachai Maa Malai and the Thiruppavai ‘Chitram Chirukale.’ Interspersed with brief jatis this piece was set as a ragamalika with ragas such as Aarabhi and Bowli and in different talams and invoked a devotional celebration of Lord Narayana.

These old Tamil lyrics were followed by a contemporary work, ‘Angayarkanni’ in nine ragas, a composition of Late Lalgudi Jayaraman where the curves of ragas such as Mayamalavagowla, Saranga and Atana set a plaintive musical quality reminiscent of the violin’s melody. Ramya presented a composite picture of Devi who was the medium for highlighting nine rasas in as many anecdotes. Through the gamut of fear, disgust, awe and love, several episodes from the Saivite lore were depicted. Ramya also delved into the subdivisions of each primary rasa and imparted each a different hue. The phrase Illanagai is often shown just as a simpering smile by inexperienced dancers; in this case it was depicted as Devi responding to Siva with smiling bashfulness and was appropriate to the context. The alternating stanzas of rhythm and expression were proficiently exhibited. Meenakshi fighting battles on her conquest was a picture of both womanly charm as well as the taut stance of the warrior. Despite a sudden lull in energy in the halfway marked by swarams, the pace picked up and the dancer held the sthayi accurately.

Two heroines with different personalities, one who couldn’t care a hoot for gossip and another who denied any semblance of romantic overtures were portrayed by Ramya with perception. ‘Joodare’ in Sahana and Misra Chaapu was a picture of a married woman from an affluent family tossing her head at tattling tongues, and carrying on unmoved to (none other than) ‘that’ cowherd Gopala’s house. In the Khamas javali ‘Apadooru,’ Ramya described a rather naïve maiden, who claimed she had no ties whatsoever to the hero. Taken together the humorous ideas in both songs were shown with correct timing and therefore successful.

Ramya excels in the abhinaya when she is true to her innate expertise. It is when she falls back on repetitive mannerisms like superfluous coy looks and showy flicks of the wrist that the communication style becomes artificial and appears forced. As an artist who is also into innovative ventures, tapping into her individual quality at all times should not be demanding. Her nritta is graceful and does not compromise on energy and is well supported by neat postures and clear sounding footwork. Thillana in Sindhubhairavi and

Adi followed by Tiruppugazh was the concluding number. After a couple of instances of lack of coordination with orchestra, this went on to become a mellow lyric. Orchestral team in the form of Nandini Anand Sharma’s singing, S.K. Suresh’s nattuvangam, M. Dhananjayan on the mridangam and Sreelakshmi on the violin lent capable support.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:45:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/review-of-ramya-ramnarayan-dance-recital/article6768199.ece

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