Precise timing, clean mudras, physical prowess and sharp mental focus of a dancer are the main features of any dance choreography. Without these attributes, success cannot be achieved.
Last week, we had two evenings which were both exciting and uniquely entertaining.The utilisation of the stage and the large set pieces was artfully done and contributed to a richly classical narrative and an integrated choreography. There was no doubt that the audience loved both presentations if the overwhelming applause was anything to go by at the end of each performance. By the time, the curtain fell and both dance recitals ended, the desire to experience more such classical Bharatanatya performances had begun to take hold of the rasikas. On Monday at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, veteran prima donna of Bharatanatya Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali for Bangalore Club for Kathakali and The Arts (BCKA) performed. On Tuesday at Seva Sadana, Malleswaram, seasoned dancer Dr. Sowndarya Srivatsa (for Ananya Cultural Academy) regaled the rasiukas. Both dancers put up elegant, stylish and fantastic performances that one would have liked to enjoy a little longer.
Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali presented a devotion and abhinaya oriented ‘Nava Vidha Rama Bhakthi,’ based on select shlokas drawn from Valmiki’s Ramayana. Lord Rama was paid homage to with deep and rapturous love. The nine types of bhakti or worship were articulated in saluting the Lord.
Hence, it was but natural that the abhinaya element was pivotal to her presentation. Rightly so, her refined abhinayawas were packed with all the nuances of saatwika. The dance legend made it more intimate and impactful by having a live music orchestral support. Needless to say classicism was the mainstay of both Vyjayanthimala’s dance and her accompanying music. The beautiful cultural evening had some exciting and enthralling moments.
Even if you watched the performance just for the dance and its theme, you were rewarded richly. I watched this performance purely for the classical dance and its theme. Dr. Vyjayanthimala proved that she is a staunch representative of the great Tanjavur style of Bharatanatya. Her many years of hardwork and artistic discipline, the formidable foundation she has had and intense and passionate commitment to her craft could be seen in every stance and mudra.
The subtleties and beauty of the Tanjavur style were aptly applied to the story of the recital. The variations she displayed in terms of nritta, nrithya and abhinaya were remarkable. Her abhinaya was mind-boggling as it exceeded the limitations imposed by imagination.It was the extreme precision of the minutest of movements and perfection that had the audience in awe repeatedly. The artiste’s hands and arms moved with lyrical power and sublime grace.
Fascinatingly energetic Bharatanatya
In the other Bharatanatya solo dance recital organised under the aegis of Ananya, Dr.Sowndarya Srivatsa performed with practiced good timing. Her interaction with music was perfect as it all came together like a mosaic. The high skill level on the part of the dancer to convey the message was noteworthy.
She was fascinatingly energetic and compellingly meaningful in the detailed treatment of the famed Kambhojivarna (Swaminathanaiazhaithuva).The high-energy performance was visualised as `Architecture in Motion.’ It was more like a well-oiled machine that created patterns with incredible precision, timing, balance and momentum. The extremely athletic performer stole the show in all the segments of the interpretation of the varna.
She was at the zenith of her talent and expertise in the rendition of Yoganarasimha’s ragamalika composition, Adigobarutihane Sri Rama. In this composition, the composer artistically renders the scene of Seetha Swayamvara. The composition was set in Bilahari,Athana and Amrithavarshini ragas. The scene of lifting the Shiva Dhanus was portrayed in an impressive manner.
D.S.Srivatsa’s singing was exceptionalPrasannakumar’snattuvanga was lively and inspiring. The other accompanists including Harsha Samaga on mridanga were exemplary.