Rajeswari Sainath's solo Bharatanatyam performance and the group show by students of Jayalakshmi Easwar may have been different in nature, but each was satisfying in its own way.
PHOTO: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR
DYNAMIC Rajeswari Sainath strikes a pose during her recital in New Delhi.
Rajeswari Sainath's Bharatanatyam recital the other day at the India Habitat Centre under the HCL Concert series offered a refreshing change to audiences. No matter where artistes originally train, the constraints of life in the Capital and the competition in the profession seem to cast a certain veneer over their art. Consequently there seems to be as much packaging as substance, sometimes more. So it was after a long time that Delhi witnessed a Bharatanatyam recital by an accomplished dancer that was dynamic and individual without seeming to be `I' centred. And although energy and a purity of form took precedence over glamour and prettiness, it was not as if the presentation was short on visual aesthetics.
A disciple of Guru Indira Rajan, Rajeswari has the added advantage of closely collaborating with her uncle, the mridangam maestro Karaikudi Mani, under whose guidance she runs the Sruti Laya Kendra Natarajaalaya in Chennai and Mysore, besides cities of Europe. Her grip over rhythm is displayed in her crisp footwork and clarity of sound, which does not allow itself to be drowned out by the mridangam and nattuvangam.
The varnam in the raga Valaji was a case in point, highlighting the dancer's clear lines and stamina. Embellished with rhythmic patterns composed by Karaikudi Mani, this was a musical composition of K.R. Radhakrishnan in praise of Durga. The jati syllables were patterned in a manner that made them seem effortless. Balanced with dramatic pauses, they allowed the dancer to stick to a comfortable tempo with occasional bursts of speed. Rajeswari's use of strong and soft movements (vallinam and mellinum) adds grace to her execution. What does not impress as much as her nritta is Rajeswari's abhinaya, which would be more expressive if she reduced extra movements around the mouth.
The team of accompanists, including Srinivas (nattuvangam), S.R. Veera Raghavan (vocal), Nagai Narayanan (mridangam), Muthukumar (flute) and C.K. Vijay Raghavan (violin) provided excellent support.
Jayalakshmi Easwar presented a delightful programme of Bhartatnatyam by her students the other day at the Delhi Tamil Sangam. The care lavished on the performance was obvious, in terms of colour coordinated costumes as well as the careful choreography of each piece, allowing equal representation to both juniors and seniors. Even a traditional number like the Tisra alaripu was choreographed to allow a large number of dancers to participate and to give the feeling of invoking energies from all directions. Notable among the presentations was the Dashavatar of Jayadeva, in which the various incarnations of Vishnu were represented with dramatic scenes and quick tableaux. After the tillana a swaramala was introduced, which served as a curtain call for all the students to appear one last time stage. The youngsters showed varying degrees of prowess, though all had the stiratwa and rekha (firmness and neat lines), auguring well for future development.
It was obvious the audience as also the performers had a whale of a time.
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