POETIC STEPS The dance feature was based on Dikshitar's compositions
Story has it that Thambiyan, one of the disciples of Muthuswamy Dikshitar was suffering from severe abdominal pain and no medical assistance helped him. He was advised to worship the grahas. Muthuswamy Dikshitar composed two kritis on the deities advising him to sing them for a mandala, by the end of which Thambiyan was promptly cured of his ailment. Later Dikshitar composed the rest of the Navagraha compositions.
The nine compositions tuned in different ragas (Sourashtra, Asaveri, Surati, Natakuranji, Atana, Paras, Yadukiula Kambhoji, Ramamanohari and Chamara) have melodious musical grandeur and lyrical opulence.
Sri Lalithakala Academy Foundation performed these nine compositions at their maiden dance feature at Alwar Kalabhavan, Gokulam, Mysore. There was not much scope for `satvikabhinaya'. The sanchari bhava and adavus were relevant with symmetrical and attractive formations while illustrating the suryagraha (Sourashtra).
The impressive planetary movements strengthened the well-assumed postures. Chandra Graha (raga Asaveri), representing the mind (according to vedic scriptures), included the phenomenon of the eclipses in the sanchari bhava. However, the relevance of Sun (Surya) in this occasional stellar phenomenon was not clearly established.
Absence of crisp jathis in the nattuvangam (Uma Rao) and lack of fluency in singing (C.S. Lakshmi) were a few setbacks for the complete success of the performance from this well-known institution known for such unique productions.
Among the navagrahas, Chetan K. Hebbar (as Sun and Rahu), Anandaraje Urs (as Chandra and Angaraka) and Seema (as Guru) stole the show with their agile and sublime performance while the other artistes gave their best. The stamp of Kalakshetra was visible in the choreography of guru Uma Rao assisted by the senior disciples Chetan and Prathima, during the entire show.
The maturity in abhinaya by Prathima in each of the planetary combinations was remarkable. The concept of the backdrop was striking, though the lighting was poor.
Vidwan Ravishankar (mridanga), Thandavamurthy (violin) and Rajesh (flute) gave elevation to the concert.
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