Sri Krishna Manjari 
- Lakshmi Kannan, Chennai
October 7, 2007 

Two young dancers, Archana Raja and Harinie Jeevitha recently performed at the Bharat Kalachar Yuva Utsav at Chennai. They are the kind of dancers one sees very seldom in this day and age, because they have an intensity and rigour of training that sets them apart from most others. Their bodies in all its lean and tensile strength are like a finely tuned instrument, immaculate and assertive in rhythm, springy and light footed in their leaps. Their dance was carved geometry.

The evening titled 'Sri Krishna Manjari' was a unique attempt to present the Krishna leela in a 'margam' format. The program commenced with pushpanjali which had verses on nature piled with crisp detailing on the ten incarnations of the Lord Parandhama. The Kadir Madhi Kavitvam in Reethigowlai elaborated on the marriage of Vasudevar and Devaki followed by the happenings that marred the celebrations.

The Shabdam revolved round the themes of Krishna's birth and naming by Yashoda. The lyrics of this number mirrored the poetic genius of Kadal Madhi. 

Varnam in Navaragamalika was not only an acid test for the dancer but also for the musicians. All the Jathis were dealt with grace and confidence. Violinist Nagaraju's tuning was heart throbbing. Vocal support by Rajeswari Kumar, nattuvangam by guru Sheela Unnikrishnan, mridangam by Nagai Narayanan, Violin by Muruganandam, Flute by Shankaranarayanan, and special effects by Parthasarathy added colour to the show. As for the central concern of the 'araimandi', the two dancers succeeded in sustaining the perfectly etched half-seated stance from beginning to end. Kudos to the guru for the wonderful training. 

The short post varnam session had only two numbers namely a padham and a tillana. Padham in Kapi was interesting while in Tillana, they negotiated the complicated and rhythmic changes with effortless agility covering the stage with dynamism and grace. In toto, they held the attention of the audience throughout the program.

Lakshmi Kannan is a Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancer/teacher who runs her own school Jathiswaraalaya Academy of Dance and Music in Chennai.