Rajashree Warrier: An accomplished artist with versatile skills  
- Padma Jayaraj, Thrissur 
e-mail: padma.jayaraj@rediffmail.com 
 

February 26, 2006 

One of the top dancers of the younger generation in Kerala, Rajashree Warrier is a happy blend of brains and beauty, of Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam dance.  She rose like the morning star on the TV screen in Kerala, shining through the program Suprabhatham in Asianet. She came to every home in Kerala as an anchor and a presenter of umpteen number of TV programs. Born out of school youth festivals and a winner of many awards, she has grown over years into a mature artist. Performing dance recitals and giving music concerts on countless stages, Rajashree is a well-known presence on the cultural horizon of Kerala.  

Her accomplishments 
Initiated into classical dance and music at a tender age, Rajashree is lucky to learn under teachers who inspired her. Training under Guru V Maithili laid the early design to a splendid vocation. Later the erudite Jayanthi Subramaniam inspired the sublimities of Bharatanatyam in her formative years. She studied music under Perumbavur G Ravindranath.  With a Masters in Music, she is now doing PhD in musical forms that come in dance.  
  
"Dancing is an extension of my music. Music is the soul and spirit of my dance," affirms the artist. She believes that Art should be for art's sake. A diploma in journalism chalked out a career for her in the Visual Media. Now she is on the production side, directing programs. Currently, she is doing Saparya, an exclusive feature on south Indian dance forms for Amruta Channel.  

Netra, her school for performing arts in Thiruvananthapuam, Kerala, adopts a genial attitude to all schools of discipline with eminent artists in the field of Dance and Music participating in workshops. Learning is an ongoing process for her. She is currently learning Dr Balamuralikrishna's compositions from Prince Rama Varma of Travencore Royal family, a Veena maestro and Carnatic vocalist.   

Her recital 
Rajashree gave a Bharatanatyam recital in connection with the felicitation given to Nalini Chandran, an eminent educationist who won the national Dorezio Award, by the civic body of Thrissur. Her performance showed how traditional items can be done in a creative manner. Rajashree is a choreographer with a unique perception who lends depth and dimension to each item. The customary Pushpanjali with music by Dr Balamuralikrishna in Arabhi ragam was not just an arati. Nrita Ganapathy in charming poses danced in joy sanctifying the arena for a dance offering.  

Siva-Sakti with beautiful lyrics by the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati highlighted the male-female principle in perfect harmony. The embodiment of supreme power and beauty emanating from inner strength bloomed in the fluidity of her movements. The sculpturesque poses, reminiscent of temples like Chidambaram, seem to be the inspiration behind the choreography. The recital revealed the strength of Hindu philosophy and its spiritual dimension at a time when social structure is unsure of itself and its intrinsic value system. Credit goes to Rajashree for implicitly projecting a sensitive issue with authority and command. 

Varnam in kapi ragam was a composition by Kunnakudi Venkitarama Iyer. Here the virahotkanditha nayika is Valli, waiting for her consort Murugan. The unusual touch of her choreography lies in the portrayal of the psychological dimension of love. Love here is sublime: human love bordering on devotion. The lovelorn nayika swings between anticipation and illusion; between dream and reality, a fascinating and true to life situation rendered in alluring charm. Finally, the human finds its perfection in the divine as Valli sees her Lord atop the hill mounted on his beautiful peacock. In reality, all the Kumaran temples in Tamilnadu are on hill tops overlooking his devotees in the valleys. 

The Kshetrayya padam that pictured the forlorn Gopika is a metaphor for the overwhelming power of love. The Gopika, overpowered by Krishna's flute, moves towards her lover like a river flowing seaward. Hypnotized by the surging power of love she moves on forgetful of herself and forgetful of surroundings. Her friends watch over her mad pursuit and discuss her plight. The saga of eternal love in Indian art and literature starts with Radha, meanders through Meera. What is unique here is that the looking glass is turned to society mirroring the contradictions that the power of love generates in social order. Human heart follows the object of love irrespective of social restraints, material attractions, and tragic fallouts. Indeed, our love-story has been the story of Radha and Krishna or Meera and Krishna ever since!  In raga Sahana the choreography is a montage on love. 

A Purandaradasa kriti in ragamalika was a traditional item that depicted the precocious child Krishna who reveled in teasing women. At another level it is eve teasing, an ever present phenomenon in human nature cutting across cultures.  

The thillana was a beautiful item of pure dance and poses in ragam Poornachandrika by Poochi Sreenivasa Iyengar. In a unique blend of Vazhuvur and Pandanallur style, her performance becomes an ecstatic self revelation of the artist. 

Her expressive face, with its fleeting bhavabhinaya , her remarkable dramatic poses, her fluid movements, highlighted by her team made the performance impressive. Her team members are artists well-known in Kerala: Kavalam Sajeev (vocal), Sreekumar (violin), Vypeen Satish (mridangam) and Anirudh Vasudev (nattuvangam).  A gifted dancer, singer, choreographer and production expert, Rajashree has just started her journey and has many places to go. 
  
 

Padma Jayaraj is a regular contributor to narthaki.com