casts a spell
If Pt. Damodar Hota's singing filled the atmosphere with an aura of musical serenity, Geeta Chandran's glorious performance led this evening into greater heights of classical Bharatanatyam.
Chokkanadar Kavutvam by Gangamuthu Nattuvanar, was an exciting start to Geeta's performance. Chokkanadar means one who dazzles humanity with his charisma and his cosmic dance. Performing this item, Geeta Chandran seemed to translate the meaning of "Chokkanadar" with her dazzling performance. The piece, the dance and the dancer all merged into one. Geeta's presentation of this item was replete with intricate symmetrical nritta, and she captured the hearts of the rasikas! The power-dance of Lord Shiva was performed by the dancer with a high degree of precision; her angashuddhi was a class in itself and she was able to generate a unique radiance from her dance.
The second item for the evening was "Raas" based on the verses of Haveli Sangeet poet Hita Hari in "Khelat Raas Rasike Brij Mandap" As guru S Shankar's nattuvangam commenced, Geeta struck the most beautiful symmetrical dance poses. She used the stage space wonderfully. As Lord Krishna, her eyes would communicate the naughtiness of the lord. With gentleness in her smile, she conveyed the charm and happiness of Radha.
One of the many striking features of this performance was the minutest detailing in dance. As Krishna, Geeta Chandran's handling of the flute was remarkable, like keeping the invisible flute in place before embarking on dance part of the item. And fully alert to take it out from there before playing it, that was simply superb! Geeta depicting Krishna and Radha was brilliant. The force in the flute of Krishna that captivates the attention of Radha and the effect of the murali on Radha was beautifully portrayed.
As the voices shifted from vocals to the nattuvangam, it was classical Bharatanatyam at its best. G Raghuram's rendering of the flute during Raas, was very impressive, and helped to bring out the emotions of the dancer.
"Ninda Stuti," an Abhinaya Padam item was presented next, based on the great works of Vidyapati. In Katana Bedana, Geeta presented an episode when Radha was anxiously awaiting her beloved Krishna's arrival. At that moment, she is hit by the arrows of Madana. Radha is irritated at this action of Madana, and makes him understand that he has mistaken her to be Shiva. Ninda Stuti was a treat to watch. Showing mistakes of Madana, this Padam gave Geeta Chandran the opportunity to showcase 2 distinct personalities and liven up the stage. Describing each aspect of the personalities of Lord Shiva, Geeta presented moving images of the lord, who co-existed with Radha on the stage. Geeta was excellent as Shiva and as beautiful portraying Radha. Ninda Stuti concludes as Radha exclaims to Madana, "Oh Madana, I do understand, since Shiva is known as "Bam" and I am "Bama," that is why you have mistaken me for Shiva!" The scope this Padam provided and the kind of artistry the dancer achieved was truly striking.
Geeta Chandran concluded the evening's performance with Mangalam in praise of Radha Ramana, "Vanamali Vasudeva Jaganmohan Radha Ramana." Mangalam was a gentle presentation to conclude the evening's performance.
For the rasikas, coming out of this beautiful spell of dance by Geeta Chandran was tough. They would have loved to see more and more. Geeta was marvelously supported by - nattuvangam: S Shankar, vocal: Sudha Raghuraman, flute: G Raghuram, mridangam: Thanjavoor Keshavan.
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