In nrittya, they shine

Of Poise Navia Natarajan in performance.

Of Poise Navia Natarajan in performance.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Deepak Mudgal


The Capital’s connoisseurs of dance get a bout of impressive Bharatanatyam by Navia Natarajan and an immaculate Odissi preformance of Sudha Mukhopadhyay.

Bharatanatyam technique given its complete symmetry can impress by itself when immaculate. And it is on the strength of the perfect geometry of lines that Navia Natarajan’s dance made its strong impact at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi as she danced under the HCL Concert Series. This disciple, now based in the U.S., trained under Padmini Ramachandran of Bangalore and now pursuing her learning under A. Lakshman of Chennai, has flawless nritta, the linear perfection of her movements making her an ideal model for youngsters to watch.

Right from the Pushpanjali in Hamsadhwani set to khandatriputa talam, with the homage to Ganesha and later Vishnu (raga Shanmukhapriya), one was treated to weight evenly balanced on both sides of the body with movements starting from the balanced and still centre, fanning out and closing in unsullied symmetry, making the dance a visual delight. The Ragamalika Varnam “Saami nine kori naanura” with its tightly set jatis, had the interpretative aspect strung round the nayika’s love for Lord Brihadeeswara.


In the charanam, the love smitten humility in mood changes to one of supreme confidence, as the nayika claims that the Lord will find in her a mate worthy of him. Navia’s abhinaya while involved was not in the same class as her nritta. Her best expressional effort came in the Purandaradasa lyric “Pogadiralo Ranga Bagilinda achege” wherein the adoring foster mother restrains little Krishna from straying outside the door for fear that he be snatched away by saints and others. Hariprasad’s Tillana composition in Nalinakanti with sahitya from Manikkavachakar’s Tiruvachakam, was neatly executed with singer Nandakumar Unnikrishnan doing justice to the vocal support with other accompanists providing the right rhythm and embellishment to the entire recital.

Dancing at the Capital’s India International Centre, under Seher’s laudable new effort ‘Udbhav’ for projecting less known young dancers, in collaboration with IIC and the city-based magazine First City, Sudha Mukhopadhyay, a disciple of Madhavi Mudgal for the past 15 years, presented in her recital Odissi profile at its best, with an articulated tribhangi and the now fast disappearing Chauka. The three parts of the body deflected in directions opposed to one another to create the three bend, can make, in a faulty dancer, the jerkiest of performances. But Sudha’s movements had a velvety fluidity with movement from head to toe running in one unbroken line of grace. The clearly etched movements, rock steady in the frozen moments, in Mangalacharan and later the Pallavi based on Madhup Mudgal’s music in Chhayanat saw some of the most lyrical Odissi.


In neither the Ashtapadi nor the Oriya song “Sanginire Chaha”, both built round the Radha/Krishna sringar theme, was abhinaya of the same level as the nritta. A lot more of internalised power is needed in the dancer’s interpretative aspect. In Moksha the way Sudha covered the stage was impressive.

With Guru Madhavi Mudgal conducting the recital, music was in the usual meticulously rehearsed Gandharva Mahavidyalaya mode.

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