Aesthetically designed Margam
- Vanamala PS, Bangalore

April 23, 2010

The renowned MES Kalavedi featured Radhika Ramanujan's Bharatanatyam performance in their institution recently. 

In the midst of contemporary dance experiments, thematic presentations and the trend of dance companies, a young promising artist like Radhika choreographing a complete Margam for the evening, was an evidence of the younger generations' love for innovation within the aesthetic boundaries of this classical dance form. A senior disciple of Gurus Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran, Radhika did full justice to her lineage. The intense training and knowledge imparted was evident in the intricate nritta with rare combinations of adavus and in the graceful abhinaya.

Radhika commenced the recital with a Mallari and a Ganesha Sthuthi.  This Mallari in Raga Nattai is a composition of distinguished percussionist Srihari, who accompanied on mridangam that evening. Kannada varnam in a rare raga Vagadheeswari set to adi tala was the main attraction of the evening.  This is a composition of popular flautist Mahesh Swamy. A virahothkanthita naayika requests her sakhi to go and fetch her beloved lord.  Inspired by the beauty of the lyrics, the dancer beautifully elaborated the characteristics of a virahothkanthita naayika. Although the first jathi looked a little stretched, other quick jathis balanced the nritta aspect. In contrast to most other varnams, its second half was also rich and beautiful. Intricate jathis and beautiful narration showcased the dancer's immense talent.

Popular Tulasidas bhajan helped bring in variety to the performance which was otherwise dominated by shringara. Bhajan was followed by the Kannada devaranama "Chikkavane Ivanu." Radhika excelled in communicating the bhavas.

Tamil Padam, once again set to a rare raga among dance items, in Huseini, caught dance lovers' attention. The grace and poise required for this nayika came out aesthetically, specially when the nayika says to her lord, "I have seen you with other woman of lower values, still I accept you with all my love and devotion. Please come home."  Shringara and bhakthi seemed like Radhika's forte.

Radhika concluded her performance with a tillana in Madhuvanthi.  Radhika was supported by the best as accompanying artists: DS Srivatsa (vocal), Harini Srikanth (nattuvangam), Srihari (mridangam), Narasihma Murthy (flute).

Vanamala PS is a dancer and a freelance writer from Bangalore.