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Friday, Dec 21, 2001

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Exuberance takes the upper hand

Mythili Prakash ... astute choreography coupled with grace.

THE MGR Gold Medal winner in the Spirit of Youth dance contest of the Music Academy, Mythili Prakash, was presented in the inaugural performance of The Music Academy this year. Mythili, coming all the way from Los Angeles, chose to offer time tested pieces that must have been performed at the Academy by many leading stars in the past. The beginning was new and Mythili obviously overawed by the occasion struggled to overcome inhibition in the Ganapathi vandana with a Marathi composition. Standing in white costume against the grey stage decor, she seemed to merge into the background. The Annamacharya kriti ``Alagulu Kuriyaka Adenamma'' was done at a break neck speed with interesting moments of the churning of the ocean and the circling on the knees around the stage. The legendary Husseni raga Swarajathi ``Eemayaladinara..'' was given a 21st century treatment with too much nritta and an exuberance not very well suited to the piece. The composition is heavy with the sthayi bhava of the pining nayika, hurt by rumours that his affections have been diverted to another woman who may have used some potent powder to win his heart or done some magic to draw him away. The pain was nowhere seen and in the nritta portions and the retreating moments it was all celebration with a soft smile playing on her lips. However, it was in the second half of the programme that Mythili Prakash showed her real prowess and understanding of the art though the Javali, ``Maaru Baari taalanenu ra... ,"was also done with too much smile when the lyric suggests unbearable agony of the cupid's arrows. It was a continuous flow of apt Abhinaya in the required madhyama tempo and deeply harmonised with the music and presented the very richness of participation of all the elements of dance.

In their shared involvement the musicians and the dancer brought alive the song. Mythili Prakash's own choreography of foot work and tillana composed by violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman followed next and showed that Mythili is an intelligent and individualistic choreographer who can match any modern dancer. Here the exuberance was lyrical and attractive and graceful.

Breaking from the pattern, Mythili Prakash had scheduled the Tyagaraja Kriti ``Entharo Mahabhavulu'' as the finale. It was performed with endearing enthusiasm and genuine feeling. Musician D. Srivatsa who sang reached the peak in the finale except that he held aloft a paper to read the lyrics thus distancing himself from the dance. His quiet singing was full of Bhava and Viji Prakash's Nattuvangam was as crisp as the dance. Vedakrishnan's mridangam, Kalai Arasan's violin and Mahesh Swamy's flute enhanced the quality of the performance.


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