Moving beyond mere excellence
Priyadarsini Govind's constant search for fresh perspectives within gives her artistry depth and uniqueness.
Priyadarshini Govind. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao.
The depth of Priyadarsini Govind's artistry lies not just in the visual poetry created by her finely crafted movements or in the depth of her emotive prowess, but in her constant search for fresh perspectives within.
She is an artist, or rather a stylist, for whom the art is not a static entity but a supple fabric that can be stretched to accommodate a discerning mind. And it is this uniqueness that cloaks her every offering, be it a new choreography or an age-old composition.
While navigating uncharted territory, Priyadarsini has not lost sight of the essentials of good dance: posture, grace, timing, footwork and sensitivity. She has simply moved beyond mere excellence, even though the litheness of spirit combined with perfectly chiselled movements and an intense articulation is impressive enough to satisfy even a connoisseur.
Priyadarsini stayed within the traditional repertoire, tweaking tried and tested compositions like K. N. Dandayuthapani Pillai's raagamalika varnam, "Swamiye azhaithodi vaadi" in Adi taalam.
The pure dance sequences were many-tiered edifices built around different jathis, the varying arudis simply serving as exhilarating endings. The vibrancy in the nritta came from the complexities of calculations as well as from the composition of adavus.
Priyadarsini's energy was unflagging; she was light-footed while covering space, even as she was firmly grounded while executing the steps.
This rigour continued into the concluding thani avarthanam composed in Nalinakanti, Adi taalam, by violinist K. Sivaramanan and Gomathi Nayakan.
The thani avarthanam itself was composed by senior mridangist Vijayaraghavan while the Pallavi was set by mridangist Shakthivel, who also contributed to the precision of rhythm that evening.
One more person who needs to be mentioned is Shajilal whose timekeeping with the cymbals and konnakkol were faultless.
The vocalist Preethi Mahesh provided pleasing melody all evening. She was well supported by Shikhamani (violin), and Ramesh (flute).
Vaishnavi Sainath. Photo: S.Thanthoni.
The lovelorn heroine pining for Shiva was sensitively captured in the varnam, but the endearing dialogue between Yashoda and a mischievous Krishna in "Maadumeikkum Kanne" was what remained firmly etched in memory.
The beauty of subtlety left the viewer asking for more... Perhaps this is what defines a true artiste.
It did not take long to spot Vaishnavi Sainath's talent for rhythm. It became apparent in the opening piece itself, a Ganesh Stuthi in Hamsanaadham raagam, Adi taalam, scripted by Kavi Kannan and composed by B. V. Balasai. This is no surprise when the young teenager from Hyderabad is the daughter and disciple of dancer Rajeswari Sainath, who is well-known for her rhythmic expertise. Besides this instinctive feel for rhythm, Vaishnavi has a disarming stage presence. The dancer's beautiful costumes and the extra effort to provide good lighting added to the appeal of the programme.
Vaishnavi breezed through the Valaji raagam, Adi taala varnam, composed by K. R. Radhakrishnan on the many manifestations of Devi. Mother and daughter were in sync through the intense pure dance sequences. Particularly impressive was the suddha nritta sequence in Tisra gati where the nattuvanar and dancer alternately took centre stage. The dominant rhythm seemed to overwhelm the otherwise meticulous vocalist, S. R. Veeraraghavan.There was no respite here for the attentive mridangist, Nellai D. Kannan either. On the other hand, the interpretative portions were dealt with very briefly. Vaishnavi was able to get the message across but a little thought might help present the stories of Goddesses Meenakshi and Abhirami to greater effect. Another area that Vaishnavi needs to work on is her footwork. The necessity for the araimandi stance and the proper completion of the steps cannot be emphasised enough.
Kalaiarasan on the violin and Sivakumar on the flute were consistent in their melody, the former musician especially striking in the Paras composition. The orchestra was led with authority by the dancer-teacher-mother Rajeswari Sainath on the nattuvangam.
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