Immaculate performance by Navia Natarajan
- Usha RK

January 6, 2014

The Bharatanatyam performance presented by Ananya at Seva Sadan on Dec 28, 2013 was superlative to say the least. The performance was rather blemishless and the compositions well selected. Navia is in good practice which shows especially in her nritta. Right from the "araimandi" to every adavu that she performed were clear and complete enhancing the geometric lines of the style. Her inclusion of some of the not-so-performed adavus like the mandi adavu gave it the old world charm.

Navia’s first piece was dedicated to Mother Goddess "Para Shakti" describing the attributes of Devi. Selective excerpts from Adi Shankaracharya’s Devi Navaratnamalika and Lalitopakhyanam were choreographed adeptly. With expressive postures and subtle sancharis, Navia created an impact that marked a perfect beginning to the short recital.

It was in the Anandabhairavi Varnam composed by Ponniah, "Sakhiye inda velayil" that Navia stunned the audience with her minimalistic sanchari that was more at the concept level than the story or narrative level. She chose to depict the idea that "those hands that came to the rescue or helped Draupadi or lifted the Govardhana or vanquished Kaliya, when will they embrace me." The nayaka being Rajagopala, the nayika extols his leelas and request her friend to get him to come to her as soon as possible. The nritta aspect through the neatly choreographed jathis with appropriate length was a joy to witness. Navia executed every adavu with felicity and reminded one of watching many of the yesteryear dancers. And yet the content did not seem simple or easy, the calculations were intricate too. Many of the dancers these days begin the varnam with sanchari bhavas and start the story telling technique in the very first lines of the varnam. It was very refreshing to see Navia take the old or traditional route beginning with the "attami" and establishing the sthayi bhava and then slowly moving on to the sancharis as required in the following lines. The delineations of the suffering of love pangs by the nayika on being attacked by Kamadeva were very decorous, subtle and gentle. Navia certainly came across as a very aesthetic and committed performer.

The concluding piece was an enjoyable javali, a composition of Patnam Subramania Iyer "Appudu manasu niluchunate" where the young heroine says, "How can one’s heart stay calm and not beat faster when you see a good looking man? I promise to behave and in control in front of my lord Venkateshwara." The playful and peppish young maiden was depicted with zest by Navia.

The music ensemble consisted of the ever so good DS Srivatsa - vocal, Pulikeshi - nattuvangam, Balu - mridangam and Mahesh - flute.

Usha RK is a writer and Arts Consultant.