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Bhavya Kumaran - Backed by bedstone of training
- Naveena
Photo: Iyappan Arumugam

July 28, 2017

The first thing that strikes you as you watch Bhavya Kumaran dance is the rock-solid training that she seems to have imbibed from her mother Sowmya Kumaran.

Presenting a repertoire of four items, Chicago-based Bhavya performed to recorded music. The recital was under the aegis of Kartik Fine Arts, Chennai, on July 7, 2017. Even at the very outset, she established her credentials as a talented, hard-working young artiste, exuberant in presentation. The beautiful composition Eeshane koti-surya-prakaashane of Muthu Thandavar, one of the Tamizh Moovar (celebrated trio of Tamizh composers), is a lilting composition in Nalinakanthi that describes the splendour of Lord Shiva as rivalling that of crores of suns, as he dances in the Kanakasabha. Bhavya managed to convey the awe-inspiring magnificence of the Lord's form, despite the limited performance area. Her golden-yellow costume too, seemed to do its bit in adding to the imagery of the sun!

Bhavya then presented three items, each so popular that the audience can be safely expected to sing, in case of an audio glitch! But Bhavya's immaculate technique, youthful joie-de-vivre and confidence sans flamboyance ensured that no déjà vu crept in. The varnam, Devar munivar thozhum paadan, the evergreen Shanmukhapriya composition of maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman eulogises the Lord of the Seven Hills and is understandably high on the bhakti quotient. A brief reference to the Gajendra Moksham was touchingly delineated by Bhavya. Although most of the rhythmic passages bordered on a higher tempo, this young artiste was testimony to what an exacting teacher a mother can also be. Each movement complete, each mudra perfect, deep araimandi always in place - all these accomplished without compromising on either pace or energy, was a tall order well met.

Mogudocchi, the famed padam, ascribed variously to several composers including Sarangapani, is a tender farewell by Krishna's childhood buddy- a young girl who is now expected to leave the company of the cowherds, since her husband (whom she married as a child) has come to claim her. Torn between two worlds, she implores Krishna to not forget her. Bhavya acquitted herself well in this piece, with Bragha Bessell's choreography doing justice. The recital concluded with Balamuralikrishna's Brindavani Thillana, yet another favourite of dancers and audience. However, a few pauses in the choreography seemed expendable.

Though no announcements were made regarding the accompanying musicians, one could surmise that the nattuvangam was by Sowmya Kumaran and vocal by Murali Parthasarathy, who was consistently melodic. The tonal volume of the nattuvanar could have been heightened for better impact; it was a trifle feeble.

Plenty of potential, art in her genes (veteran Tamil theatre actor 'Kathadi' Ramamurthy is her grandfather) and a good balance of vivacity and poise—these are some of the traits that distinguish Bhavya Kumaran from others of her ilk. Here's hoping that this winsome young dancer receives more opportunities to perform, observe and absorb.

Naveena is an arts writer, speaker, translator, singer, quizzer and compere, proficient in several languages including Sanskrit, in which she holds an M.A.