to a late-starter
- Padma Jayaraj, Thrissur
draws the portraits of many late bloomers. Dancers like Rukmini Devi and
Protima Bedi started late and reached the pinnacle of glory. Here stands
with folded hands a young woman, Dr Jyotsna for whom work is worship. She
has rushed from the medical field to the portals of dance rather belatedly.
Perhaps life's inexplicable twists and turns must have brought her home.
spent in Africa exposed her to the world of rhythm and music. Visits to
India opened for her the rich world of cultural heritage. She learned dance
under Dr. Hema Govindarajan who roused the latent talent in her. It was
during her internship of her medical course that Jyotsna became aware of
the yearning for artistic fulfilment. And dance loomed ...far away, her
vocation. Better late than never, she decided to pursue the whisperings
of her spirit and side by side with medicine she devoted her time and energy
to learn Bharatanatyam. A Lakshman, a devoted exponent of Bharatanatyam
has inculcated a consummate sense of the art in his student. And she has
marked Excellence as her goal. "Whatever Jyotsna has achieved so far is
hers, for we have no dance in the family to inspire her," says her mother
Janani Jagannathan who accompanies her as her announcer. Indeed it is the
support of her family and that of her husband who encourages her to follow
her heart that helps her carve her niche in the art world of Chennai.
is born to dance is no exaggeration. That she is a late-comer is no accident.
Nature has endowed her with an expressive face, and an elastic physique.
Alluring smiles bud, bloom and fade on her face in charming sequences.
Poised in postures that recall salbhanjikas, her eloquent eyes and dimpled
cheeks paint ragamalikas on stage. Her nimble footwork playing in sheer
joy lifts our sprits. Passion and confidence are the marked features of
her artistic expression. Jyotsna's is an inspirational profile to the young
women of St Mary's College, Thrissur.
by Thalam, a cultural society of the cultural capital of Kerala, Jyotsna's
dance recital was a joyous event. Marked by simplicity, individuality,
and elegance, the performance began with a Ganesa stuti reverberating the
atmosphere on the Saturday that the students earmark for relaxation.
Wadakunathan temple stands tall in the heart of Thrissur. Jyotsna began
by paying obeisance to its presiding deity, Nataraja. Swami Dayananda Saraswathi's
composition "Bho ...Sambho, Siva sambho..." in ragam Revathy and talam
adi was a fine selection. Portraying the attributes and aspects of Lord
Siva, the dancer with deep devotion sanctified the twilight.
ease with tradition, stuck to a varnam by Lalgudi Jayaraman in ragam Charukesi
and talam adi. Here the heroine wonders why her lord pretends not to have
understood her mind. It was a joy to watch the fleeting facial expressions
that reveal different moods of the lover. More than a lovelorn woman Jyotsna's
nayika is a woman capable of peeping into the mind of her lover. She almost
takes her lover to task. The innate strength of a woman in love is what
we glimpse in her performance.
of the performance was a Tulasidas bhajan. To people who adore Krishna
and his pranks, baby Rama came as an unexpected treat. The young
mother who tiptoes to watch her sleeping baby is alarmed not to find him
on his bed. Angst ridden she searches him calling his name...lo, there
he is taking his first steps, playing by himself. Oh, joy...oh joy... how
his babble is like the music of a nightingale. She adorns her child to
recognize Ramachandra, the king of their dynasty. What makes this charming
rendering appealing is its simplicity. A simplicity that is made more identifiable
to the ordinary. For, the Indian woman cajoles her dream child in the secret
chambers of her heart.
piece was of a lover's quarrel. The eternal lovers, Radha and Krishna are
at the archetypal game. They seek out each other yet they pretend otherwise.
Such a game of hide and seek in the mindscape of lovers is an enduring
theme in literature. So "Radha is sad... Krishna is sad... Gokul is sad...."
appealed to the youth who filled the auditorium.
item was a fusion of folk and semi-classical nritta that presented a lyrical
ecstasy. Authored by Oothukadu Venkatasubbaiyer the song is about an eventide
whence Krishna the cowherd boy returns to Brindavan along the riverbank.
The artist presents the sheer joy of human heart at the bosom of Mother
Nature. The thrill of the childhood game of playing in the waters on a
shore is more physical as in a folk number. The dancer conveyed joy in
any beginner, does not transcend the mundane; does not aspire for the lofty.
Yet there is that mark of reaching for the heights. As this young woman
matures as a dancer, her art will surely point to higher dimensions. For
the present, when every artist concentrates on interpreting a lyric,
Jyotsna's recital enhances the beauty of the lyric. The appeal is such
a rare experience that made the audience clamour with encores.
writer, Padma Jayaraj is a regular contributor to www.narthaki.com.