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Grace, her forte


WITH HER base in Delhi, rather than Chennai, the abode of Bharatanatyam dancers, Rama Vaidyanathan has managed to reach out to a vast number of dance lovers at home and abroad. A student of Saroja Vaidyanathan and Yamini Krishnamurthi, her dance has more grace and aesthetic appeal to it than power, the majestic touch and vigour. Keeping the aaharya simple, be it the thalaisamaan, the dress and ornaments, she exudes a feminine charm that goes well with most of the pieces she performs and she has a body supple enough to satisfy the demands of intricate choreographies.

Her performance held recently at Kerala Fine Arts Society proved that. Though there was only a small gathering, the choice of pieces was appealing. A pushpanjali, in a lesser used raga Rasikapriya, certainly warmed up the event if not giving it a sparkling start. `En thaayum enakkarul thanthayum nee', the famed virutham on Lord Muruka, in the resonant timbre of Vidya Srinivas was a sheer delight. To this, and the `Mayoora Alarippu', Rama performed a series of `peacock movements', the swaying, the jumping, displaying the pleasant and capricious state of mind of the bird.

A varnam in Charukesi by Lalgudi Jayaraman `Ennam en manam ariyadava pone' was the main item. The Nayika complains that Krishna can't see through the depth of her love. Rama's portrayal of the young lady full of passion for the lord was more genuine, compared to the nayika's girlish admiration and soulful yearning in her mature state. Circular movement of the fist in a sideways motion ws unique.

The first half indeed saw a few gaps in the jathis, as the dancer resorted to poses, circles and swaying motions as jathis came vigorously. A deliberate attempt to use the entire space in the stage was also seen. In fact the adavus and korvais for the charanam and the first couple of swaras saw some sincere attempts at choreography. Rama dedicated the last piece, `Omanathinkal kidavo' to the girl child as her way of retaliating to female infanticide. She showed a toddler girl, the mother pampering it with garlands and ornaments, playing various games, and so on. Hence the piece, originally conceived as a full lullaby, where the faculty of imagination in conceiving the image of the child as the sweet child of the moon and moonlight from a full moon at the same time, which takes a major role in the visual presentation of this piece, was absent. Its relevance as a lullaby came only towards the end where she lets the child go to sleep.

Again the raga Navroj which suits the lullaby more, proved to be quite out of place in the mirth and pleasantry. The phrase originlly `Eeswaran thanna nidhiyo' was presented as `Eeswaran thanna kripayo'. A traditional item to a native crowd certainly deserved more justice. The highly professional accompaniment of Sivakumar of the nattuvangam, Lalgudi Sreeganesh on Mridangam and Viju Anand on the violin deserves special mention.

The event was preceded by a short musical performance by flautist Rajan.

HAREESH BAL

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