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Malavika Venkatasubbaiah performs at Nrithya Yaatra
- Text & photo by Srivatsa Shandilya

January 5, 2019
Malavika Venkatasubbaiah, a senior disciple of Guru Lalitha Srinivasan of Bangalore, and founder / artistic director of Natyam Dance Academy in Edmonton, Canada, is nurturing artistic excellence amongst the new generation of artists with her passion, creativity and innovation.
Malavika opened the evening performance on Dec 30, 2018 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore, with the Dhyana shloka "Angikam Bhuvanam Yasya..." offering her obeisance to Lord Nataraja, the gurus and the sabha, which was an apt opening of her dance repertoire dedicating it to her guru at Nrithya Yaatra for Nupura's 40th year celebration. This was followed by the varnam "Neelamegha shyama sundarana" interpreted as an episode taking place under the Kadamba tree that stands as a sole testimony to the timeless tales of love and devotion which was seen in the dance with the artist's bhava abhinaya, where Radha speaks her heart out about her beloved Krishna. Malavika herself choreographed this piece, a composition of G Gurumurthy set to Ragamalika and adi tala. Jathi composition was by Suma Krishnamurthy, senior disciple of Guru Lalitha Srinivasan.

The Javali portrayed the vasakasajja nayika who eagerly awaits her beloved's return. She is in conversation with her sakhi reminiscing about the wonderful times spent with him and lamenting the fact that he is not with her right now. The piece was depicted with her brilliant abhinaya showcasing the character getting very eager and the vasakasajja in her transforming into a proshitabartruka nayika was shown reassuring the sakhi and mainly herself that he will for sure return, and very soon! Composed by Dwaraki Krishnaswamy, the choreography was by Suma Krishnamurthy and music direction by T.S. Krishnamurthy.

Overall, the performance was outstanding with a bit of Kolata (Karnataka folk form) introduced without deviating from the traditional Bharatanatyam form. Her dedication to her art and her unceasing practice was seen in her impeccable performance throughout.

Srivatsa Shandilya is a photojournalist and director of International Arts & Cultural Foundation, Bengaluru.