Divine expressions 
- Shalini Ramanathan 

October 5, 2005 

On October 1, 2005, The Princeton Association of India Development hosted a presentation of Bharata Nrityam by Bala Devi Chandrashekar, a senior disciple of the noted Bharata Nrithyam exponent, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam. The presentation titled, "Divine Expressions" was held at the Film and Performance Theater at the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University. 

Bala began the performance with a song "Maa Mayil Meedh Eri Va" in praise of Lord Muruga, set in ragam Lathangi. Lord Muruga is held in special reverence by the Tamil speaking populace. Skanda has been eulogized by the 2000 year old Tamil Sangam literature and by the Sanskrit hymns of Aadi Sankaracharya and Kalidasa.  Bala Devi, through her enchanting dance, brought alive the stories of the beloved Lord.

Her performance contained a variety of components ranging from pure dance (nritta) to expression (abhinaya) and the unique components of Karanas (temple sculptures).  Bala rendered the pure nritta items with great precision to the language of rhythm, stimulating an aesthetic experience in the spectators.

The song "Neeradha Sama" in praise of Lord Krishna portrayed the sentiments so closely associated with the enchanting Lord. Through her intricate abhinaya, Bala depicted the form of Krishna, the significance of every ornament that adorned him, and Radha and Gopis' divine passion for him.  

Bala concluded the performance with a composition of Saint Kanakadasa. In this item, the audience saw the depiction of Yashoda beckoning child Krishna with vatsalya. Bala's performance of this story of Kanakadasa, brought to life the rich sentiment of Bhakti. 

It was indeed an evening of 'Divine Expressions.' We hope that Bala Devi will bring many more such divine moments to the connoisseurs of art.