Takes her bow with elan
- Jyothi Raghuram, Bangalore
e-mail: jyothi.r.ram@gmail.com

April 4, 2012

Her inaugural pieces, Mallari (as always, in Gambhira Nata) and Ganesha Stuti (Aabhogi), themselves marked her imprint for the evening. Mallari, a number pleasing to the eye and the ear, was presented with a perception of space vis a vis stage use. The Subramanya Kauthvam in Gowla raga was a delight with the delicate  and nuanced movements of the peacock - the “vaahana” of Lord Subramanya, while the rhythmic aspects blended well with the enthusiastic facials of the dancer Smrthi Harits.

This young teenager appears to have much going for her, as revealed in her recent Rangapravesha at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall. It was a largish crowd for a debut, and the huge auditorium, with a generous sprinkling of viewers, created a participative base for the evening, a liveliness that was subsequently echoed by the dancer herself, making it the hallmark of her maiden recital.

 After these pleasing numbers came two familiar items - a Ragamalika jatiswara and the Shankarabharana varna, “Sakhiye inda jaalam”, which Smrthi dealt with enthusiastically. For a debutante to exude such an animated spirit is uncommon, and Smrthi’s presence on stage was marked by liveliness, which, coupled with a very pleasing smile, carried the audience along. There was much joy in her dancing, appearing to be oblivious to anything else.

Yet the dancer could not capitalize on this trait, her nritta completely lost in hazy footwork. In fact, little attention seemed to have been paid to this indistinctness, a natural corollary to which was a now-on now-off araimandi.

Smrthi’s abhinaya was in marked contrast to her rather perfunctory footwork. Be it the Faraz javali “cheli ne nethlu” or the Hamsadhwani padam “natyavanaadida Nataraja”, her face mirrored the expressions adequately, the Devaranama, “Gummana kareyadhire” in Tilang, bringing forth her delightful spontaneity. Her sense of gay abandon, coupled with her smiling visage and spontaneity could well become her passport to success, so long as she really works on her footwork. 

Others factors prominently at play in making her outing bright was the costuming and make-up by Pramilla Purushotham. The highly talented Shashidhar Adapa’s stage décor had its unique identity and relevance to a dance recital, although a relatively plain, dark backdrop helps register a soloist’s presentation better.

Vasundhara Sampath Kumar led the accompanists with her nattuvangam, supported by Balasubramanya Sharma (vocal), Dr. Nataraja Murthy (violin), Purushotham (mridanga), Jayaram (flute) and Prasanna on the rhythm pads - all of whom helped keep the musical support on an even keel. Pallavi Manjunath also wielded the cymbals.

Jyothi Raghuram is a journalist with over two decades experience in both the print and electronic media, having worked with news organizations such as PTI, The Hindu and Indian Express. Her specialized writings on the performing and visual arts have been considered as benchmarks for their comprehensive and in-depth dealing of the subjects.