Thursday, March 4, 2021

A duet of power and grace

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Siblings Shruti and Adarsh present a joint arrangetram

Guru Vrinda Ravi beamed with pride as she felicitated her students Shruti and Adarsh on their arrangetram (debut performance) held recently at St Phillip’s Christian College Theatre, Newcastle.
“You made me very happy, dancing with power and grace,” she said. It was indeed a moment of pride for all, parents, guru and students as years of dedication came to fruition.
Shruti and Adarsh began their performance with a Pushpanjali followed by Sri Vigna Rajam Bhaje. The alternating of sollukattu (vocal percussion) and singing of the lyrics added a special charm to the Ganesha sthuthi while the various formations in the Alarippu gave the traditional steps a refreshing feel.
arrangetram.Indian Link
Parashakthi Janani followed. The choreography played with the idea of devi as the protector of good and destroyer of evil in this universe.
Shruti and Adarsh effectively played the roles of devi and the evil asura, finishing in a strikingly spectacular pose of Simhavahini – devi riding the lion.
Special mention has to be made here of the lighting which captured the intricacies of the movement and stillness encapsulating the dancers in a space beyond time.
Gokula bala formed the piece de resistance of the evening where many episodes were narrated from the evergreen stories of Lord Krishna.
The unhurried pace with which the story of Kuchela and Krishna was narrated, with attention to the minutest detail, kept the audience completely spellbound.
arrangetram.Indian Link
In the narration of the story of the Putana, the choreography beautifully alternated the two dancers, one reflecting the original demonic form of Putana and the other her transformed beautified self meant to deceive.
Shruti was expressive in her role as the vicious serpent Kalinga, as Adarsh, in the role of Krishna, danced in all his glory on her hood, and in the final stanza portraying the Geeta Upadesam, Krishna preaching to Arjuna, Prema Anandakrishnan’s enunciation of the lyrics sambhavami yuge yuge… will definitely resonate with the audience for many yugams (eons) to come.
In the padam on Lord Nataraja, the eternal dancer, Adarsh used his body effectively to present the tandava aspect of dance as Shruti used her eyes and facial expression to convey the lasya aspect.
“Though it is a challenge for two people to dance together, as we need to make sure that we are perfectly synchronised, dancing with my brother Adarsh gave me a sense of reassurance and delight,” Shruti said.
arrangetram.Indian Link
The sprightly kavadi chindu that followed suited Adarsh’s dancing character, as he moved with abandon, reflecting his natural joy in music and dance.
Adarsh seemed perfectly at ease with performing this female-dominated art form. “There is a scarcity of male dancers learning this divine art in the world today,” he said.
“However, we all know that the reason why this art form exists is a man, Lord Nataraja, and that thought and belief helped my desire to learn grow stronger and gave me the impetus to progress,” he continued.
In contrast, the freshness and blossoming love of Andal as she waits for her union with the Lord was presented with its inherent innocence by Shruti.
Guru Vrinda Ravi has to be commended for the appropriate choice of items that showcased her students at their best. The thillana in Kuntalavarali is always a joy to behold and was a fitting finale for the evening.
arrangetram.Indian Link
An excellent orchestra accompanied and supported the dancers comprising the well modulated, heartwarming voice of Prema Anandakrishnan, the rich tones of Balaji Jagannadhan on the violin, the magical melody of Venkhatesh Sritharan on the flute, with Pallavarajan Nagendran, whose fingers dance on the percussion, highlighting every move of the dancer. Guru Vrinda Ravi conducted the recital with panache.
Special mention needs to be made of Mr Paskarajothy Kandasamy for the stage décor, which added the right balance of grandeur and aesthetic appeal giving the audience a sense of watching a performance along the pavilions of an ancient temple.
“Our quest for learning will continue forever,” affirmed Shruti and Adarsh as they embark on their journey in the world of dance.

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Hamsa Venkat
Hamsa Venkat is a keen explorer of the art form of Bharathanatyam and is a dancer from the Kalakshetra School of dancing in Chennai

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