Graceful and mature presentation
Deepa Mahadevan ... neat and precise.
IT WAS refreshing and joyful to witness the Bharatanatyam recital of Deepa Mahadevan at Mylapore Fine Arts festival. She was led by her teacher Usha Srinivasan. It was heartening to see the bhani of the veteran guru K. N. Dandayudhapani Pillai, well-fostered through the Hasta School of Usha, a senior disciple of one of the brilliant nattuvanars of the last century. Adhering to the vibrant choreography of her mentor, Usha had worked sincerely and it showed in the disciple's performance. Deepa is a bright dancer with ample potential, especially in abhinaya. She appeared calm and composed while performing. Her movements, hand delineations, posture and footwork were neat and precise. There was grace and maturity in her presentation, be it the pure dance or the interpretative aspect. Her approach was devoid of glamour and remained dignified throughout. Deepa had good grip over the nuances of laya and handled them with confidence. The intricate karvais and gripping arudis, unique to this style, were impressive.
The majestic varnam in Khamas, "Samiyai Azhaithu" of the quartette, gave ample proof of Deepa's hard work and involvement. Deepa fared with good control in both the segments of the varnam providing an enjoyable treat. The complicated jati patterns, recited and conducted effortlessly by Usha, contributed to the success of Deepa's performance. Deepa's skill for abhinaya was noteworthy, mainly due to the fact that she was perfectly tuned with concentration in maintaining the sthayi or the prime mood of the lyric with total control, a feature that is often missing in the present scenario. Her understanding of the sahitya was good and she not only communicated the ideas with ease but also developed them further with her expressive technique. As a result, there was a smooth flow in her narration.
However, Deepa's expansion of the lyric, "Bhoomi Pugazh" and "Mathurapuri Sundareswaranai", could have been still extensive with deeper depictions.
Dancers like her should learnthe various Leelas of the deity to enrich the visual content. It was heart-warming to see young Harsha Ramiah, an IT professional, hailing from a rich musical and dance background, as the main singer of the evening. He has a solid, resonant voice that can enrich the dance orchestra, provided he works hard to achieve the proper technique for dance accompaniment. He has to learn the nuances of voice modulation, improve the pronunciation and above all, sing with emotion, a crucial factor for a successful dance performance.
The percussive support of Dhananjayan, who is so much used to frenzied tempos of the current trends, was kept perfectly under control by Usha Srinivasan, who maintained an unhurried, enjoyable speed. Venkataraman (violin) and Venkatesan (flute) gave apt support.
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