Bala Devi's Bharata Nrityam for Kalai Vizha
- Shalini Ramanathan

December 14, 2005

A Bharata Nrityam dance recital by Bala Devi Chandrashekar, senior disciple of the noted Bharata Nrityam exponent Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, was hosted in New Jersey as part of a major fundraising event "Kalai Vizha" on the occasion of IACRF's 11th anniversary.

Bala's performance revolved around Shringara and "Bhakti Rasa" - nectar of devotion through dance. It offered a unique experience of the rich and intricate tapestry of Bharata Nrityam.

The Pushpanjali in Arabhi was brisk, bringing out the variety of tala and the execution of intricate adavu jatis with felicitous grace and sparkle. The sahitya gave enough scope to invest abhinaya with appropriate dramatic Hindu pantheon. With an expressive visage, one could see the subtle nuances in appropriate balance between nrita and nritya.

Bala did an interpretive dance set to lyrical passage offering an uninterrupted opportunity for mime or abhinaya. She represented the (nayika) in a state of separation and expectancy of union, portraying the beauty of Shringara standing supreme in the range of emotions. The literary imagery was rich and full of traditional allusions bringing the earnest desire of an individual soul (Jeevatma) to be in union with the supreme soul Paramatma in the song sendruvaruven endru andru solli ponaradi in ragamalika.

In the song Baro Krishnayya by saint Kanakadasa, Bala's depiction of Yashoda beckoning child Krishna with vatsalya, taking his hand and walking along before scooping him up in her arms was remarkable. As she brought alive Sri Krishna's image turning to give darshan to Kanakadasa, the audience sat spell bound.

Bala's performance portrayed the aesthetic beauty and choreographic style of Bharata Nrityam known for its grace, purity, and statuesque poses.