Samanvayam: The Synergy
- Phanisri Kuchibhotla

July 23, 2014

Tejaswi, a Fulbright research scholar who has done extensive research on Tarangams is a well known name in the Bay Area dance circuit. After attending her Tarangams concert last year, I was tempted to attend this event as well. Teja by herself can draw the crowds. However, this year, there was an added element of attraction in the name of Pasumarthy Mruthyumjaya Sarma, a visiting artist from Kuchipudi village. After having seen his performances online, I had been eager to see him perform live. I am glad to have made it to this event to see two talented artists enthrall the crowd with their performance at the Historic Hoover Theater in San Jose, CA on July 13, 2014.

The program opened with Sree Ganapathini choreographed by Vempati Ravi Shankar and performed by Mruthyumjaya. Teja followed with the well known Kamakshi Stuti choreographed by Vempati Chinna Satyam. Mruthyumjaya performed the traditional Ramayana Sabdam with great vigor and this easily stood out as the highlight of his performance that evening. The choreography by Pasumarthi Rattaiah Sarma had a beautiful rustic element to it which was ably brought out by Mruthyumjaya. The artists teamed up next to perform Ananda Tandava choreographed by Vempati Chinna Satyam. This could have been a better performance if both artists were in perfect sync. The time lapse between their movements shifted the focus from the dance to the discrepancy. The first half saw the performers in matching yellow costumes. Mruthyumjaya Sarmaís costume stood out with the Pochampally design border, a unique digression from the standard designs.

When the second half commenced with Krishna Sabdam, I was a little skeptical as we see even little 8 year olds perform this piece, as well as the choice of the song. But I must give Teja full points for her highly energized performance. Her expressions were stunning and she teased Lord Krishna mercilessly with her inviting gestures. She continued her success story in the Javali Iddari Pondelara penned by her forefather Dasu Sreeramulu and beautifully choreographed by Revathi Komaduri. Teja brought out the khanditha nayika in full force with her annoyance and disappointment at her wayward lover. She definitely bloomed in the second half and her white costume was a great choice. Not to be outdone, Mruthyumjaya Sarma shone in his performance for Narayanate, an Annamacharya composition choreographed by Vempati Ravi Shankar. The song gave scope for expressions and Mruthyumjaya didnít disappoint. He effortlessly danced through the song with vigor and male energy, effectively depicting the Dasavataras. The duo delivered a fusion of two old time favorites and treated the crowd to some fast paced jathis on the brass plate. They combined Narayaneeyam with the plate dance of Marakata Mani. This was a high energy song that had the audience captivated with the well synchronized jathis. Even the final mangalam song which was different from the traditional mangalam was interesting.

It was a wonderful evening that was well spent enjoying the performances by two talented artistes. But it would have been nice to see some newer choreographies interspersed with the well loved older ones. The one opportunity for development I see for both artists is to make their bending movements more subtle to bring in grace over flexibility. Teja was a lovely surprise package with huge strides made in her expressions and dance since I last saw her about a year ago.