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Ashwini Vishwanathan's immaculate performance
- Vijay Shanker

January 14, 2020

As part of the Natya Kalavardhini series, Fine Arts Society, Chembur, presented Chennai based Bharatanatyam exponent Ashwini Vishwanathan in a recital at the RCF Academy auditorium on 21st December. Ashwini's performance was noteworthy for its technical quality and fine control over expressional dancing. It is heartening to note that Fine Arts Society, Chembur, as part of the Natya Kalavardhini series, has decided to provide regular platforms to deserving artistes. Ashwini Vishwanathan is part of this initiative to encourage deserving artistes and also to promote classical arts on a larger scale.

Ashwini was initially trained under accomplished dancer Jayanthi Subramaniam and also has sought guidance from veterans like Adyar Lakshman and Leela Samson. Ashwini commenced her performance with a beautiful Pancharatna Stuti in praise of five gods, namely Ganapati, Muruga, Krishna, Shiva and Shakti, a fine start to the performance, that interpreted the significance and glory of all the five gods and also a tribute and homage to the presiding deities. Her precise and vibrant performance at the start itself was proof of her devotion to her art form, which she has honed over the years. Ashwini has already performed for some of the most prestigious festivals both in India and abroad.

In the Tanjore Quartet varnam "Samiyai azhaithodi vaa," the heroine requests her Sakhi to call Lord Sundareswara at once, as she is unable to bear the pangs of separation. Ashwini has natural flair for expressions, which was quite obvious in the sancharis in which she interprets and recollects varied moments of love and as to how the weather and the birds are making her more restless. Ashwini's smile and her fleeting and changing expressions, was a visual treat which was further enhanced in the ashtapadi "Kshana madhuna" wherein it was interesting to watch Krishna suffering as he waits anxiously to meet Radha. In most cases the woman suffers more, but men have their share of suffering too, which is rarely revealed.

Popular Tulsidas rendering "Tumak chalat Ramachandra" from Sri Ramacharitmanas portrayed the beauty and the innocent charm of child Rama as he walks gracefully, while mother Kausalya supports him. The vatsalya and love for the child were well enacted. Ashwini concluded her vivacious performance with Mand Thillana, a complex and intricate composition by Lalgudi Jayaraman, a test for every dancer as it is not easy to dance to perfect rhythm while maintaining the exquisite quality of performance with sparkling and striking movements. It is indeed a pleasure to witness such devoted performers.

Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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