Festival: 25th Anniversary of Nritya Kalamandiram
One evening amongst a series of presentations for the Silver Jubilee celebrations was January 6, 2007 at the JSS Auditorium, Bangalore. The evening commenced with "Ganesha Stuti" by dancing duo Radhika Chaitanya and Vandana Bharadwaj, disciples of renowned guru Bhanumathi. The artists offered prayers to the almighty seeking his blessings for a successful performance. No doubt the prayers were answered in totality as they performed beautifully, indeed a good beginning for the evening's proceedings.
Ganesha Stuti was followed by a Kriti "Jai Janaki Ramana" set to Ragamalika and Khanda Chapu Tala. The duo presented well choreographed episodes on Vishnu avatar. They had a good stage presence, and were able to hold the rasikas' attention.
Their guru's choreographic brilliance was brought alive by the artists, with unusual combination of Adavus, and good synchronization, especially in the Tillana. Their fine performance showed the amount of hard work that goes into such a presentation. While Radhika showed her stage experience, Vandana surely can rise to a higher level in her dance, with better breathing control and more expressive abhinaya.
They maintained the tempo and brilliance throughout the story of Vamana followed by Venkatagirisha, Chitta Swara and Charana – word and dance about Venkataramana - and concluded with the chant "Hey Rama, hey Padmanabha, you are the one who showers happiness on all." The high level of synchronization during their performance made it seem as if each bell of their gunghroos was striking simultaneously.
Their angashuddhi, use of the available dance space, and ability to reach the rasikas and communicate with them showed that you need to live the art to be able to present abhinaya of such high order. Their brisk footwork and energies of Jatis culminating into beautiful sculpturesque postures was a hallmark of their presentation. Tandava and Lasya aspects in their performance emphasized hard work and dedication that they have been able to maintain consistently. Great performances are about a cohesive effort and Anuradha and Shridhar were supported ably by Bharati Venugopal – vocal, Kartik Datar - nattuvangam, Nataraj Murthy – violin, Sarvotham – flute and Harsha Samoya – mridangam. Beginners of dance could have learnt a lot from watching the performance.
Savitha Josephine presented a Kriti in Poorvi Kalyani Raag, Adi Tala. She danced solo Ananda Tandav based on the song "Ananda Natamaduva Thillai." Savitha's performance as a soloist was a highlight of this performance. She was at ease in portraying the story about the beauty of the dance of Lord Shiva. It truly seemed to be the inspiration which led this young danseuse to perform, earning applauses for her neat presentation interspersed with flexible poses. Her confidence and technical prowess drew the attention of the audience.
Nagabrinda performed a solo Padam set to Raag Saveri and Roopaka Tala. She portrayed a Khanditha Nayika waiting for Lord Subramanya. The Padam was a dialogue between the Nayika who is outraged with the Nayaka for his behaviour, and not responding to her. The Nayika proves to the lord how he was at the other woman's place by showing him proof, in the form of hair, kaajal, marks, and finally she asks the lord to leave. Nagabrinda's performance of this Padam was good, but it needs to be improved. As an enraged Nayika her portrayal was slightly off mark, and her abhinaya needs some polish too. But once again with the concluding Tillana item with its very intricate footwork, it was yet again a crowning glory of the wonderful evening. Their performance had the angashuddhi and good abhinaya, and they have a very good future. With a little bit of fine tuning in her expression, Nagabrinda can do wonders.
The hall was
filled to capacity and the audience applauded whole heartedly. A good performance
needs to be applauded and encouraged and the audience rightly did so.
Lakshmi is a Bharatanatyam dancer. Sivakumar has a passion for the arts and is a freelance writer. He is a collector of dance related news clippings.