Emotions captured well
ADHERENCE TO the style taught, devotion to the art form inherited and temperance in movements that were graceful yet emphatic, made Keiko Watanbe's Kuchipudi recital for the Brahma Gana Sabha at the Sivagami Pethachi auditorium remarkable and memorable. A Japanese by birth, her faith and sincere interest in Indian classical dance was evident in the way she tackled all the items for the evening.
Beginning with an invocation to Lord Ganesha, Keiko's movements blended rhythmic footwork and sculpturesque poses. In the Bhama Kalapam, Bhairavi (Mishra Chapu), replete with the swinging hand movements so typical of Kuchipudi, Satyabhama made her entry.
Keiko adapted the Govardhana Giridhara in Ragamalika that elaborated on the pranks of Lord Krishna and as the saviour of the universe in movements that were filled with abandon and verve. The popular Tharangam that followed had Keiko dancing on the brass plate executing racy rhythmic patterns with dexterity and calm imagery. What made this item stand out was the effervescent quality Keiko brought to it along with the bhava that was both touching and realistic. Especially when she delineated the vatsalya aspect of the narration when Yashoda is dealing with Krishna. When it came to shringara, with Krishna hiding the clothes of the Gopis, Keiko scored again with her wonderful childlike expressions.
The Ashtapadi by Jayadeva sung hauntingly by Randhini in Ragamalika (Adi) was yet another example of Keiko's understanding of the multilevel emotions of Shringara. Even as it was racy, the piece was perfectly executed with never a slack movement of the hand or foot.
Keiko concluded with a Brindavan Saranga Thillana choreographed by Guru Shailaja of Saila Sudha which was unarguably well danced just as it was a fitting conclusion to her recital. Others accompanying Keiko in the orchestra were Haribabu on the mridangam, Muruganandam on the flute, Raghavaraman on the violin, and Shailaja on the nattuvangam.
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