Parshwanath enchants with exuberance
- Mohan Ayyar
Photos courtesy: Madhuram Academy
September 29, 2018
Swastik Dance Institute
The main item was the varnam "Devadi deva Nataraja" in ragam Shanmukhapriya which provides a bhakta's perspective on the Lord of Chidambaram. Parshwanath's sharp and precise movements were on show again during the opening trikala jati. In the first line (Devadi deva Nataraja Tillaiyil kuncitapadamudan adum), there were times where Parshwanath unusually depicted Lord Nataraja dancing with his right foot raised (usually only associated with Nataraja in Madurai). The highlight of the varnam was Parshwanath's depiction of the celestial orchestra (featuring Krishna on flute, Nandi on mridangam, etc) while Shiva's tandava was also captivating, especially when he traversed the stage in the mandi position.
Next, in Kanakadasa's "Enendaleyendalo," Rama laments the loss of Sita and imagines what she would have told Hanuman in Lanka, while in "Baro Krishnayya" a devotee meets little Krishna but is unsure if it was a dream. Unfortunately, these padams didn't have the same impact as the earlier pieces. The program concluded with Dr. Balamuralikrishna's gatibheda tillana set in a garland of 'priya' ragas. While this is indeed a very complex piece (each section in a different nadai), the constantly changing nadai somewhat detracted from the flow and aesthetics of the piece.
Bharatanatyam like all art forms is constantly evolving and Parshwanath is a striking example of the new energetic and popular style of the dance.
Mohan Ayyar is a PhD scholar in Indian music and dance at Macquarie University.