Lovers of dance were amazed at the constant progress made by the petite and pretty Bharatanatya dancer M. Ananya in the pursuit of her art. She moved like a doll with quick reflexes. Ananya who is trained by her mother K. Brunda and Guru Shankar Kandasamy of Malaysia, opened the two-day Nada Nrithyotsava 2015 festival held at ADA Rangamandira on January 13. Her body moved in perfect sync with the music, such was the rhythmic perfection of this focused young dancer. Well-trained and with some good exposure, she danced with a lot of confidence, bringing the right fire and intensity to her performance. With just enough seductive and rhythmic abandon, she sustained the interest of the audience till the very end of her show. After the traditional opening, she danced to the varna swami nee manavirangi addressed to Lord Murugha. The nritta was packed with intricate rhythmic calculations and were easily converted into a vivacious dance language. Ananya kept up a perfect line of performance and her hard work in mastering and managing them came to the fore every now and then. The abhinaya was upbeat and uplifting. She could communicate the niceties of the sahitya along with its appropriate moods. She ended her performance on a high note with a matured interpretation of a Purandaradasa pada innu daya barade set to Kalyana vasantha raga. This was prefaced by an apt Ugabhoga in Reetigowla. Her briskly-paced production featuring beautiful, energetic and visually stunning dance, exquisite costumes and live music was full of vibrant energy and the dancer Ananya easily engaged the audience.
Her mother--Guru Brunda (nattuvanga), Nandakumar (vocal), Karthik (flute) and Chandrasekhar (mridanga) imparted an impressive support.
An outstanding duet
The duet by Dr Sridhar and his wife Anuradha Sridhar was quite different as well as fabulous. Their performance was delightful, engaging, sympathetic, entertaining and played with skill, speed and panache. One thoroughly enjoyed the craftily constructed programme. The duo presented two tales focusing on the transformation or metamorphosis in their aptly titled programme Parivarthane. It was a beautiful production. The first one revolved around humanist transformation and the second one bordered on the divine.
The first item had many specialties to note. The angikaabhinaya was given the prime place. The Sridhars unfolded the story of a cruel robber Shankhudeva who gets transformed into a noble man. The Tamil story was presented through dance without any words and just with beautiful live instrumental music echoing its different moods and sentiments. The magic of this production lay in its incredible story telling through mime alone which revealed the mechanisms and techniques of the art form in an easy-to-understand and detailed coverage of body movements. The seasoned artistry of the Sridhars created the illusion and developed and deepened these interests, thus showing an ever-greater technical and thematic assurance. There was neither dialogue nor lyrics during the almost thirty-minute-long performance. The communication was carried out entirely through profound aangika and satwika abhinaya. The dancer duo who are quickly cementing their position as among of the leading dancers in their field, proved their worth and gave a virtuosic display. One applauded their use of a highly impressive and communicative body control to serve us delightful vignettes. Watching them play different characters with different physicalities and facial expressions was sheer delight. The physical fitness and expressiveness needed for this art form was mind boggling.
Indeed, the wordless performance was fueled by nothing but sound effects, extraordinary physicality and praiseworthy energy.
Their next rendition, Tirumangai Alwar, was a divine transformation. The tale of a lusty and sensual provincial head, who ultimately turns out to be a sanctified person, was portrayed on the basis of Tamil poetry and parashars. Melodiously and meaningfully accompanied by Balasubramanya Sharma (vocal), Prasannakumar (rhythm pad), Natarajamurthy (violin), Maheshswamy (flute) and Harsha Samaga (mridanga) the rendering of the imagery was excellent. The mix of the visual aspect of the performance as well as its emotions worked brilliantly with their dance and blended artistically in an echo of those contrasts; at times it was totally mesmerizing. Sridhar and Anuradha took us through a rollercoaster of emotions and energy. It was a perfect union of two superb, charismatic, classical dancers in a subtly nuanced, passionate and outstanding duet.
Experienced and an expert Bharatanatya dancer Sowndarya Srivatsa proved her creativity and discipline in her recital held on the second day of the above festival. She danced with precision and polish. The dynamic musical support lent by her renowned husband-singer D S Srivatsa was perfectly paralleled in mood and temperament by her dance designs.
Sowndarya with her well-maintained figure and profile went through the compositions with an artistic elan. The manner in which her body shifted, froze, lifted, ran, slid, spun and jumped in the tautly knit nritta portions was like a master class in the art form. The finely-toned body of the dancer created an enthralling visual and emotional picture.
There was a furnace of power in her dancing which she used to consummate ease - from the whiplash speed of her turns to the richly silvered pulse of her ankle bells and the fierce geometries and fluid ripples of her arms. The Nagaswaravali Pushpanjali was followed by the familiar Bhairavi varna Mohamana by the Tanjavuru Quartet. In the varna addressed to the Tiruvaruru Thyageshwara the plight of a virahothkhantitha nayaki was emoted. Sowndarya’s perfect understanding of the theme made her communication easily discernible. Her nritta and nrithya were of high class.
The Pharaz javali (Smara Sundaranga) was exploited well to portray a swadheenapatitha nayaki. Sowndarya surprised the audience by rendering a Kannada poem “Howdene Parvathi” by Professor G S Shivarudrappa in Maand raga. Dwaraki Krishnaswamy’s Valachi tillana was the concluding number in which the dancer’s vibrant charis and teermanas drew an instant applause.