The spontaneous, responsive and collaborative effort of vocalist TM Krishna and danseuse Priyadarshini Govind, at the Music Academy recently, was an exploration and expression of dance through music and vice-versa. Titled ‘Saayujya’( meaning merging oneself with the divine,) it was curated by Alap.
Krishna is known for his tremendous Manodharma and Sampradaya sangeetha, while Priyadarshini is known to manage any new choreography with the dignity of presentation, sans gimmick, gently redefining the boundaries of Bharathanatyam repertoire. It was the coming together of music and dance in unison, in a free spirited presentation, where the dance responded to music and vice-versa.
Created with adherence to the classical form and tradition and allowing exploration in form and content, the opening alarippu in misra nadai, by Priyadarshini Govind with movements suggesting the ‘blossoming of a bud’, captured in dance, was followed by a short alapana in the raga Vagadeeswari, the kirtana paramatmudu, said to be the last composition of saint Thyagaraja, revealing the omniscienceof the god.
The central piece of the concert, the Bhairavi swarajathi of Syama Sastri, that followed with the musical capturing of kriti ambakaamakshi (though not composed with dance sequence in mind as brought out by the dancer)— was the merger of the brilliant exposition by the vocalist, bringing out the majesticity of this Rakthi raga. The dancer’s entry, with an excellently choreographed abhinaya, was a treat for the eyes.
A long composition into which the essence of the Rakthi raga is squeezed with nothing but bhakthi, an amazing exposition indeed, the choreography was excellent and the presentation with music flowing was elegant.
The niraval at syama krishna sodari—the last charanam, made the audience spell bound.
Following the swarajathi, the padam paiyyada in the Raga Nadanamakriya, made us aware of Kshetragnar, the most outstanding composer of padams in Telugu.
Though originally padams included musical compositions with religious, devotional or philosophical themes, in the later period sringara became the main theme in padams, which are often associated with lord Krishna, occupying the first rank in love poetry full of idioms abound in colloquial expressions.
What was interesting was the conversation between Krishna and Gopi. The way sringara rasa, was depicted, the different states, (physical and mental), revealing the emotional content, by the dancer, using ragas like Bilahari, Sama, Behag, Ranjani, Karaharapriya, Khamas, Kapi , etc., brought out T M Krishna in a soft, simple and mellifluous style, revealing that the padams, are full of idioms and abound in colloquial expressions.
Be it the Raga Talamalika, interspersed with tanam and jatis, or Priyadarshini performing jatis choreographed around themes of various animals, though not novel in nature, everything was spontaneous.
Reinforcing that the basis of collaboration is not about novelty, innovation or experimentation, the aesthetically fulfilling evening brought together the core elements of Bharathanatyam and Carnatic music in their individual forms and meshed it together appreciably.