This month’s Nrithyollasa, a feast of dances hosted by Ananya at Seva Sadana, Malleshwaram was a successful one in no small measure due to two factors— the fine temperament of the recorded music and the calibre of the three dancers who performed on that evening. Traditional glamour Rekha Raju ’ s Mohiniyattam was strictly in harmony with the tenets of the dance form and the edakka accompaniment in the musical ensemble was conspicuous by its impactful presence.
Straightaway she opened with a varna having a lyric dilating on Nala-Damayanthi tale. Damayanthi is acutely pained by the separation of her husband Nala. She addresses a swan and sends messages of love, and the direction and degrees of her pangs are expressed through that swan. The traditional glamour of Mohiniyattam was reechoed in her presentation. It was all emotion and grace. She stuck the right note in handling the gentle nritta too. Her rhythmic hold and precise body movements had artistic synchronisation. The slow and graceful movements typical of the dance form made the number Praanapriya (Shuddha Dhanyasi) a well guided abhinaya
piece. Growing in fire and involvement as the recital progressed, it was the Ashtapadi (Lalitha lavanga, Hindola raga) structured around the Gopi who is reminiscing the good times that she had with Krishna, conceived and visualised by the dancer that projected Rekha Raju at her best. A composition on Ayyappa Swamy popularised by noted singer Jesudas Harivarasanam (Sri raga) was rendered in a telling manner. Sculpturesque poses: In a spunky recital, the brilliance of LS Prakrithi’s technical command and the magic of her abhinaya seemed pretty evenly matched. In the Ardhanareeshwara stotra (Champeya Gowraaya, ragamalika) by Adi Shankaracharya, her lasya and tandava movements were appropriate in unraveling the theme of duality of man and woman in Lord Shiva. Her nritta preludes were as per the requirement. Various sculpturesque poses etched by her were eye-popping. It was in the nritta chapter of the recital that one was treated to the full blooming of Bharatanayam.
Swati Tirunal’s Hindi krithi Chaliye kunj ko (Brindavana Saranga raga) woven around Gopika and Lord Krishna was marked by the dancer’s histrionics. She concluded with a sonorous tillana set to Jog raga with a line of text in praise of Ananya. Flowing nritta: An elegant Odissi dance performance by Vandana Supriya ushered in the finale. Fully populated by thribhangis and chowkas, her invocatory number resonated with a graceful energy. She set in motion the Megha pallavi with a flowing nritta. The Odissi geometry woven into the elaboration was applauded for its precise and artistic affluence. She had an Oriyan poetry Saacho as the textual framework for her abhinaya to portray a Radha who is restlessly searching for Krishna. Felicitous Bharatanatyam: Young Shruti Srinivasan trained felicitously by a popular and able Guru Vasundhara Sampathkumar regaled the rasikas at Nayana with her tasteful Bharatanayam under the ‘Every Wednesday Cultural Evening Programmes’ series. However, she would do better by shedding some weight and maintaining a dancer’s body. The opening slot had the shlokas on Ganesha, Saraswathi and Devi followed by Aangikam bhuvanam (Revathi) beautifully imaged in her abhinaya. She did an excellent job of cutting out too many elaborations in Dandayudhapani Pillai’s Kalyani varna with Shiva-theme without spoiling the core of the emotive thrust. The way the different jaathis of rhythm was knit into the demanding teermanas, the etched clarity of movement and Shiva’s bhangis with the well spelt out araimandi and moving abhinaya made for a fine recital. Maneyolagado Govinda (ragamalika, Purandaradasa) and Baa baa Shankara (Vachaspathi, again on Shiva!!) vouched for her matured abhinaya. She concluded with a crisp tillana in Brindavaniraga.