It was visual poetry
Priyadarsini Govind re-defined the scope of interpretation to add new depth to old pieces.
PHOTO: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
PICTURE PERFECT:Priyadarsini Govind.
It is not often that artists such as Priyadarsini Govind appear on the horizon. She is a combination of prodigious talent, exceptional creativity and passion for hard work. She has grown to become one of the top performing artists in India and outside, while keeping the core of her dance strong and true.
Excellent teachers Guru Rajarathnam Pillai and Guru Kalanidhi Narayanan gave her the foundation, but what Priyadarsini brings to the table is a special creative spark that is worth eulogising about. Without moving out of the traditional framework, she re-defines the scope of subtlety and interpretation to add new depth to old pieces.
Priyadarsini's two-hour Bharatanatyam performance was a feast for the eyes and the ears. Dressed in a gorgeous costume of blue and purple (Lakshmi Srinath), the dancer's well-conditioned physique sang through the clean, precise adavus. This was visual poetry at its most aesthetic.
The first two pieces were both invocations performed in half light, but how different in texture they were! The first, an ode to Ganapathy (Amritavarshini, Adi, Rajkumar Bharati), was a happy piece with a khanda gati, ‘Danti Mukha Tondi Ganapathy Kazhal Potri' Jathi (mridangist G. Vijayaraghavan). The other, an ode to Devi (ragamalika, talamalika, Rajkumar Bharati), captured the goddess variously as compassionate, fierce and giving. A common thread, ‘Roopam Dehi, Yasho Dehi' (Sri) from the Devi Argala Stuthi, wove the mood piece-cum-prayer together.
The Kharaharapriya varnam (‘Mohamaaginen,' Adi, K.N. Dandayuthapani Pillai) had crisp rhythmic sequences (Guru Rajarathnam Pillai, G. Vijayaraghavan, Sakthivel) and lyric about a heroine suffering separation anxieties. The dancer's eyes did all the talking, uncluttered as it was without many gestures. Trying in vain to send a flower through the wind or a peacock as messenger to Nataraja, the heroine asks her friend for affirmation about her hero's coming. Through the heroine's suggestive gestures, one could see the friend clarifying, ‘Will he come on a peacock? No? On a bull? Yes!'
During the evening, the orchestra performed as equal stakeholders throughout. Shakthivel Muruganandam (two mridangams), Balakrishnan (nattuvangam), Preethy Mahesh (vocal) and Sikhamani (violin), all seasoned artists, gave concert-standard performances.
After a lilting Purvi thillana (Rupaka, Thirugokarnam Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar) where the animal sounds-inspired sapta swaras were depicted, the dancer closed with a bhakti lyric, ‘Kanthamam' in praise of Muruga in Kadir Kamam, Sri Lanka.
The soulful music and the touching supplication were so moving that it floored an audience that was only expecting a closing prayer... Of course, the team on stage got a spontaneous standing ovation!
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