FRIDAY REVIEW

Precise and profound fare

VIVID RECITALS Arza Varshini at the youth fest.  

B.R.C. IYENGAR

Classical recitals coupled with electrifying eurhythmics marked the Annual Youth Festival of Dance. B.R.C. Iyengar

Krithika Krishnan's Bharatanatyam concert was the first in the three-day programmes conducted by Kalasagaram as part of their Annual Youth Festival of Dance. A disciple of Rajeswari Sainath, Krithika has all the qualities of a professional dancer, looks, knowledge of books, certified skill and determined willpower, footwork, abhinaya, synchronisation with nattuvangam, stamina and grace - all and more are pooled in perfect poise to produce the graceful and chiselled image of the Goddess of natya and nritha. What more is required; experience? Perhaps yes. And it takes time, say, refinement in all the above aspects.Out of the five items in her programme, it was in the varnam, a 45-minute episode, where she struck the right chord. The slow abhinaya in her facial expressions and body movement, footwork and mobility, in measured as well as swift reflexes, it was all faultless but unobtrusively doctrinaire. The javali in Behag and the thillana in Valachi might have some elements of monotony sneak in but that is nothing to be grieved of. Krithika should not any more depend upon tuition for creativity; it is intuition that is vital.The more breathtaking part of the programme was the nattuvangam, (by Rajeswari) the captivating laya (time measure), the meteoric and electrifying change over in gathis and nadais, all in a fraction of time contributing to a colossal structure of divine composition. The input of excellent music support by Bhavadharini (a disciple of DKP), not to mention the other supporters on the orchestra were cumulatively responsible for a nice programme.

Precise and profound

On the following day, Suvarchala, a disciple of Geetha Ganeshan chose a format that was distinctive of Bharatanatyam tradition and in that established sequence and order. Geetha is not only a dancer but also a recognised vocalist; in that context she has the added advantage of being a dual expert. In spite of indisposition on the day, she came out with her usual competence in playing the nattuvangam side by side with singing. Suvarchala evidently has achieved a standard of skilled status in several additive functions of the art and has indeed gained reasonably good experience. She has the suppleness of the body, a good figure and stamina. Although Suvarchala was fluent in her presentation, there was perceptible exertion. By and large, it was precise and profound but at times, it cracked and groaned. Among the items she played, the varnam in Shankarabharanam covered the central theme, and was reasonably classical.

Undue expectations

Twelve-year-old Arza Varshini is a dancer with a fat resume. Her programme was unduly fast. Also Varnam, a highly classical episode, which is the backbone of Bharatanatyam, an item that should cover up the major time and effort, was reduced to just 15 minutes. In the item keerthana as well as others, it was apparent that her admirers were fleecing out feelings and emotions from an innocent child, feelings that are difficult even for a grown-up woman. In the process the entire performance proved to be more and more mechanical. It was even doubtful if she was aware of what she was doing. Speaking strictly in terms of classicism, the much awaited, adored and populist item Krishna Leela Tharangini, the plate-and-pot dance was unrelated to Bharatanatyam and was more of acrobatics. Naturally the vociferous applause was due to the related skill and not classical dance. It was the same orchestra that played for Suverchala the previous day that helped Arza Varshini. However, the nattuvangam by Manjula Ramaswamy and music by Sai Sivani were good, although highly dramatised and pushed to vibrancy.