A Commendable Debut - Vaishnavi Rammohan's Bharatha Natya Arangetram  
by a Natya Rasika 
(at the Louis B. Mayer Theater, Santa Clara University, California, USA)

October 2002

Not each and every dance artist leaves an impact in your mind. In this dance legacy of our country, there is so much demand for perfection of technique and dexterity of movements in the pure dance aspects, and added to that, the dancer is expected to show uninhibited expressional capabilities and dramatic skills. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Vaishnavi Rammohan, who performed at the Louis B. Mayer Theater on the 28th of September 2002, left a lasting impression of true quality dancing in the adept handling of each dance number. Vaishnavi has been learning this art form for the past 6 years from Guru Smt. Vishal Ramani at the Fremont Center of Shri Krupa Dance Company. Her dance items were not simple items with simple nadai patterns. They were challenging to say the least, and the talas ranged from Adi talam, to Misra Chapu talam to an Ata Tala Varnam.  

The Pushpanjali in Hamsanandi ragam was set to Adi Talam, but the nadais varied from Chathusra to Thisra to Khandam. Her sculpturous punctuations were a real treat. This was a composition of Madurai R Muralidharan.  

Shri Oothukkadu Venkata Subba Iyer's composition 'Ananda Nardana Ganapathi' followed. Ganesha's ecstatic dance movements were portrayed with energy and excitement by the artist and the audience felt swept into the midst of it all.  

In the Jathiswaram that followed in Raga Tala Malikai, Vaishnavi showed excellent Anga Shuddhi, with perfect body lines, posture, centering and speed. Dance seemed to be an easy sweep for this artist who, no doubt, has a great future in this art form.  

The 45-50 Pada Varnam in Ata Talam will be challenging to any dancer. The attention to details in the execution of the Thirmanams and the subtlety of expressional capabilities thrilled the audience, no doubt. 'Sama Ganapriyane' is indeed a unique composition of Madurai R Muralidharan. Vishal's choreography of this number made it an absolute treat. Each 'Jathi' set was applauded by the entire audience due to the magical precision of the Mrudangam as played by Shri Dhananjayan and mnemonics uttered by Shri Muralidharan.  

The dances that followed were one on Lord Shiva and two others on Lord Krishna. The Krishna items were compositions of Ambujam Krishna, one in the Tamil language and another in the Hindi language. When Vaishnavi played like a mischievous kid in 'Kannaa Vaa Mani Vannaa Vaa', the audience went into rapturous applause.  

The Hindi item 'Haath Ki Murali' in Shyam Kalyan Raga was a very rare one, in which Vaishnavi stole the flute off the hands of the lord and wrapped a flowery wreathe around it. Then she went onto show jealousy at the closeness of that inanimate object to the enchanting lord. It was amazing to see how this portrayal was done with much conviction by Vaishnavi.  

Thillana, the pure dance number, once again an unusual piece set in Thilang Ragam and Khanda Tiruputa Talam was a wonderful one where Vaishnavi's variegated patterns of footwork and her ability to execute challenging routines was a feast for every one present. Vaishnavi's performance as one rasika from Coimbatore quoted, " Vaishnavi dances like a professional dancer who has done many stage performances, with exceptional expressions, superb footwork to the talas, and in all she is a 'born dancer' "  

Every bit of the standing ovation she received is the proof of her talent and her love for this fine art. Guru Vishal did once again prove her dedication and contribution to Bharatha Natyam through Vaishnavi. Nattuvangam was by Shri Madurai R Muralidharan who is a maestro of this fine art from Chennai. Mr R. Dhananjayan's Mrudangam received a special applause from the audience; Lord Shiva's Udukku tone was superb. Violinist Mr. G Sitarama Sarma brought joy to everyone with his tunes and twists. The lovely voices of the Padma Sheshadri Sisters Roshini and Randhini were a perfect complement to the performance.