The deep bends, the circular and semi-circular gyrations, that she invested her selected compositions of Swati Tirunal set to music by veteran vocalist Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, revealed her intense mimetic potentialities. Bringing legends to life, Gopika has an innate artistry and is spontaneously innovative. Different moods alternately exuded from her face with telling effect, the gestures were eloquent. It was the ekaharya of a gifted artiste.
Aptly accompanied by Vipina Ramachandran (nattuvangam), Sushanth (vocal), Vinod (violin), Nagarajan (mridangam) and Sureshkumar (traditional edakka), Gopika was lissome, graceful and adept at the gentle flowing movements of Mohiniattam as well as its rhythms. She impressed at once by showing her good training and her stunning stage presence. Her expressive movements were a delightful aesthetic treat which brought to the fore the distinctive undulating style of her dance in the rendition of 'Srikumara Nagaralaye' (Athana) in praise of the Kumaranallur Devi. Her lovely face and eyes proved to be the ideal vehicles for the projection.
She reached an admirable point of professional grace as her body swayed and twisted with such skill that showed her control over her medium while presenting the well known 'Bhogeendra Shayinam' (Kuntalavarali) and a Malayalam pada 'Alarsara paritapamu' (Suruti) in a leisurely pace. Here, the dancer imparted the stamp of her individuality to all her movements.
Kuchelopakhyanam, a Harikatha composition, proved her deftness in choreography. The number was especially noteworthy for the effective utilization of space on the stage and the contrasting emotions that her face delineated were eloquent enough to demonstrate her virtuosity in abhinaya.
analysis would do justice to the secret of her unique art, the exquisiteness
and elegance of her line, the lyrical grace and flow of her movements and
ultimate perfection, which were the heart of her performance. She danced
to 'Vishweshwara darushana' (Sindhubhairavi) and the concluding tillana
(Bhoopala) with professional expertise and spontaneity that was marked
by elegance which is one of the main characteristic of Mohiniattam.
Dr. M Surya Prasad is the editor of Gunagrahi, a magazine on art and culture.