Vibrant Kuchipudi by Srividya Angara Sinha
- Satish Suri
Photo: Shandilya Srivatsa

September 16, 2016

The Kuchipudi performance of Srividya Angara Sinha, a student of Vijayavalli Priya, for Every Friday Cultural program (ICCR) at Yavanika Auditorium, Bangalore, was like a breath of fresh air among the plenitude of Bharatanatyam performances. Her performance was characterized by competence and deference to the traditions and style of the legendary guru Vempati Chinna Satyam bringing a sense of refinement to the presentation.

The invocatory and traditional opening of the Kuchipudi repertoire ‘Ganesha Kouthuvam’ eulogising the elephant-headed Vinayaka was executed with a fine blend of expression and nritta.The dancer’s unalloyed involvement and devotion ran through the entire performance. The jathiswaram that followed in Atana raga and adi tala, a composition of Vempati Chinna Satyam, bore testament to the grace, the strength of  technique and versatility of the artist.The presentation was characterised by well executed hand gestures and energetic movements in the execution of the jatis.

The Prahlada Pattabhisheka Sabdam explores and exemplifies the tradition of prose and poetry. Herein the story of Hiranyakashipu and Prahlada was portrayed succinctly harmonising the sathvika and vachika abhinaya, the choreography of guru Vijayavalli Priya providing the visual metaphor of body movements and delicate expressions. The various methods employed by Hiranyakashipu to eliminate Prahlada are of no avail and finally he cries, ”Show me this Vishnu of yours. Tell me, is he hiding in the pillar?’ The lord steps out of the pillar in the ferocious form of a half man, half lion and kills Hiranyakashipu.

The portrayal of the padam “Mogudoochi,” a Sarangapani composition showing a young maiden who is woken up from her reverie by a rude knock on the door to reveal a man her elders say is her husband, who married her when she was too young to remember, was evocative and marked by vivid abhinaya.The maiden  shocked and disconsolate, petulantly states that she will not go with the stranger and that Krishna is her all. The words of Krishna have a soothing effect on her. Srividya’s internalisation and expression of the yearning of the maiden was  personalised to the extent that tears welled in the eyes of the artist as she entreats Krishna not to forget her.

The Muthuswami Dikshitar kriti  “Chandrasekharam sada bhajeham” in Marga Hindola raga, glorifies Lord Siva as one bearing the crescent moon on his head. The piece started with “Atma tvam girija mati,” a sloka set in Sindhu Bhairavi raga, taken from the Siva Manasa puja stotra, embellishing the kriti, wherein the dancer offers her mind, body and spirit to the lord. The choreography provides twin streams of movement and expression to the dancer in the exposition of humility and surrender to the lord.

Srividya concluded her performance with an energetic tarangam “Krishnam kalaya sakhi” in Mukhari raga and adi tala,which extolls the beauty of Krishna, the one who sports in the waters of poetry and literature that are saturated with the emotion of shringara and one who takes delight in dancing and one who always protects his devotee, the saint poet Narayana Teertha.The tarangam, portion of which was performed on a brass plate was impactful and exuberant. A faster tempo would have added more vibrancy to the presentation. The excellent music on a recorded track with Sowmya Athreya (vocals), Gurumurty (mridangam), Prasanna Kumar (mattuvangam), Pradesh Achar (violin) also supplementing the vocals in the tarangam provided the dynamics to the choreography of Guru Vijayavalli Priya and elevated the artist’s performance.

Bangalore based Satish Suri is an avid dance rasika besides being a life member of the Music and Arts Society.