- a fete in Bharatanatyam Down Under
The pace for
the entire evening was established by Padma and her four senior students
in the offering of flowers in Pushpanjali preceded by the expressive commentary
in English by Rama Vishwanathan, which helped the flow of stories through
the evening. With captivating and colorful costumes in conjunction with
the perfectly synchronised expressions, movements, mood and footsteps,
the five dancers grabbed the attention of the audience to be carried through
out the performance.
Padma says she owes it to her mother Mrs. Santhanam for all the help with the selection of the songs for the production. She says, "Music for the entire production was the most important aspect of the show and great attention went from the selection of the songs to their recording with the help of musicians in Sydney." Whilst there were some familiar songs like "Adharam Madhuram Vadanam Madhuram" from Madhurashtakam, compositions of composers such as Narayanatheerthar, Purandara Dasar, verses from Thiruppavai, Periasamy Thooran and of course Ashtapadi were chosen to connect lyrics to the story, naadam to bhaavam, rhythm to steps.
With a smile,
Padma says that she has worked particularly hard to ensure that the children,
all first generation Indians, understood every word of the songs so that
it helped all the dancers express and emote the story, at the same time
instill in them an uncompromising attention to hand and leg movements.
But of course there was more to come, as the performance matured into brilliance in the presentation of "Aadithanoranga," the conquering of the poisonous snake Kalinga when Padma enters along with all the four gems in the production Malavika, Bhavya, Sruthi and Vasudha capturing each nuance together with intricate footwork, excellent choreography and sculpturesque poses to the voice of Sydney vocalist Prema Ananthakrishnan.
To the dancers from the over 40 group, congratulations are due. They kept in step with the young ones with equal proficiency and danced expertly to the 'show of seasons' and the 'Rasaleela,' showcasing the youthful and romantic play between Krishna and his consort Radha, choreographed in a free format style.
the entire evening the senior students played various roles. Vasudha's
dance as a peacock, as elephant Gajendra, as an evil Kaurava, was depicted
very successfully. Malavika's various roles, as mother Yashodha, as Krishna,
as Yudhishtra, as Narasimha was impressive and brought out her calibre
as a talented dancer to the fore. Bhavya's footwork and overall performance
was unmistakably involving. Sruthi's display of motherly love in the solo
item of "Yashodha Hari" was unforgettable. The lighting effects provided
for a lullaby expertly managed by Deepika and another Bharatanatyam exponent
and teacher, Hamsa Venkat added the right effect to the dance and the stage
decor provided by Revathi.
The best is
always left to the last. To the chorus sung by Prema Ananthakrishnan and
Eashwaran accompanied by Balaji on violin, Iyankaran on flute, Bala Sankar
on mridangam, "Krishnam Kalayasakhi" made for a befitting colorful finale
bringing the inclusion of an interesting jathi, seeing dancers weave their
movements with and without each other with such harmony that it was enrapturing.
Krishnan is a regular contributor to www.narthaki.com