The dance of the enchantress

The beauty of Mohiniyattam was displayed with apt abhinayas and harmonious limb movements

Published: 24th September 2012 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2012 08:28 AM   |  A+A-


As the very name of the dance form of Kerala is suggestive, Mohiniyattam, is the dance of the enchantress. Light-footedness and gracefulness are its key words. The movements in the shape of ‘8’ are always appealing to the eyes. The coverage of the stage in a slow and steady pace with angled movements, the dips and elevations of the body are unique to Mohiniyattam. Likewise, the movement of the torso in a swaying laya is also of visual delectation. The beauty and charm of this exquisite dance form was exposed in its usual leisurely presentation by Swapna Rejendrakumar at the Yavanika under the ‘Every Friday Cultural Evening Programmes’. Subtle, skilful and pleasing hasta viniyogas (use of the hands and palms) matched well with the neatly rendered aduvus.

The dance recital began with a traditional obeisance to Lord Ganesha, Saraswathi, Shiva and others. Delightful nritta was interspersed with the apt abhinaya. With flowing and harmonious limb movements intact, the singular charm of the dance was impressive. She took up a Swati Tirunal pada set to Anandabhairavi raga depicting the attributes of a Mugdha nayika (an innocent nayika). The nayika is worried that her Nayaka Lord Padmanabha does not come to her. She asks her sakhi why is it so? She remembers His sweet voice which is like the nectar of a flower and captivating like the sandalwood paste. The vilamba laya suited not only the raga bhava, but also the import of the lyrics of the song. The eyebrow movements were artistic. A musical piece Sanjakao based on Sri Krishna Karnaamritha describing the devotion and mind of the Gopi towards Krishna provided enough material for the expounding of Swapna’s abhinaya aptitude. The number in Kalyani raga was absolutely communicative.

In the delineation of Astha Nayikas (ragamalika, aditala) the variations in the moods of the different types of heroines were beautifully highlighted. In the ekaaharya abhinaya, the moods and the eight levels of relationship were eloquently etched. This was based on the eight shlokas drawn for the Natya Shastra. Vasakasajja, Viraholkhanthitha, Swadheena Bharthruka, Kalahantharitha, Khanditha, Vipralabdha, Proshithabharthruka and Abhisarika nayikas were effectively sculpted in her praiseworthy abhinaya. The way she transited from one bhava to another was marked by fluency and felicity.

Next, it was an Ashtapadi (Chandana charchitha, Mohana) through which Swapna exhibited her abhinaya excellence.

It was also noteworthy that her pure dance sequences had an admirable finish. The lovers of dance wondered at the power of her body and good control over it. The symmetry, liquidity in movements, curves, sweeps, deep bends, varied gyrations, wonderfully swaying gait and a sense of joy and well-being and pleasing netra bhava had a laudable confluence to make her dance an everlasting experience.

The dance concluded with the traditional Jeeva (Anandabhairavi) which had plenty of laya variations in the nritta. Kalamandalam Gireeshan (vocal and nattuvanga), Shankararaman (veena), Sateesh Krishnamurthy (powerful mridanga, though somewhat noisy at times) and P Nandakumar (edakka) imparted useful support.

Unalloyed audio pleasure: A sharp eye for vivid detail, the ability to illuminate areas of emotions and feelings coupled with a rich and melodious voice are the assets of young Carnatic singer Divya Giridhar. In a short duration recital held at the Indian Institute of World Culture on Saturday, Divya’s innate talent gave her listeners unalloyed audio pleasure. The krithi in Athana Sri Maha Ganapathim was the right beginning. Retaining an enticing emotional texture she packed her agenda with classical musicality and laya artistry. Rama Rama (Vasantha) and Kuniyutha naliyutha baa Shankara kept a lively tempo of the recital. She made the Keervani raga the prime presentation of her recital. The detailed singing of the raga in the form of alapana, neraval and swaraprastara for Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s beautiful krithi 'Amba Vani' vouched for her artistry. This was followed by a series of padas like Aadisidalehoda (Kapi), Hari neenolidare yaaru munidarenu (Purandaradasa, in an appealing Krishnamani raga which is Hindola with antara gandhara and a derivative of Natha Bhairavi raga), a Meera bhajan (Baaje re muraliya, Patdeep raga), Hari chitta Satya (Purandaradasa, Jonpuri) and concluded with Nandanakanda mangala set to Yamuna Kalyani raga veritably producing the image of an ideal harmony.


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