As danseuse Gayathri Balagurunathan showed the mudras (postures) to capture the nuances of a majestic elephant and a scrawny sundeli, an enthralled audience flexed their hands to follow suit, breaking into jubilant laughter every time they got their abhinayam (expression) right.
At the interactive Bharathanatyam concert that unfolded at Chennai School, Triplicane, on February 15, students took notes on how to appreciate the dynamics of the classical arts.
The programme — jointly organised by the Chennai Corporation; Aanmajothi, an organisation involved in spreading awareness on the appreciation of arts and culture among youth; Natyarangam, the dance wing of the Narada Gana Sabha and Rotary Club of Madras East — had more than 120 students of the Corporation-run school tune in to the lively concert. Highlighting the graceful body postures, lilting music and lyrics, the rich costumes and jewellery, and the tranquility of a dance recital, artist Gayathri took the enthusiastic crowd though the different abhinayas of bharathanatyam. She punctuated her performance with interesting Tamil rhymes, encouraging the students to unleash their creativity and identify the mudras for a menagerie of animals.
Speaking on the occasion, chief guest T N Venkatesh, Joint Commissioner (Education), Corporation of Chennai, underlined the importance of the programme in demystifying the roots of the fine arts. Similar programmes for inculcating appreciation of fine arts in Corporation-run schools will be held in the next academic year, Venkatesh added.