Rich tribute to Indian
|Harmony was the highlight of the performance of the
students of Natyamani School of Dance, Boston, U.S.
Natyanjali being presented.
As the yellow spotlights bathed the group of six
dancers on the august stage of the Bharata Kalakshetra Theatre, the
earthy colours in their costumes softened to create poetic hues. The
beautiful imagery was further strengthened by perfect
synchronisation, where every gesture and sway was in harmony.
The dancers were so familiar with the vocabulary of
Bharatanatyam that one forgot their roots. It was only their accent
that gave them away in the end when they spoke on their four-city
dance tour in India. These young girls are from the Natyamani School
of Dance, Boston, founded by Sridevi Ajai Thirumalai.
Sridevi's inspired choreography made use of the
dynamics of the group and created fluidity within the strict
boundaries of the traditional style. Staggered entries, multi-level
adavus, changing formations, constant movement on stage and
effective friezes added value to the well-rehearsed pieces.
The orchestra was another high point of the
programme. Led by Sridevi on the nattuvangam, the highly
professional ensemble remained focused on the dance all evening.
Their seating arrangement too reflected this involvement — all of
them faced the dancers and not each other as is the custom. The
musicians were: Srivatsa (vocal), Gurumoorthy, (mridangam),
Madhusudan (violin) and Mahesh (flute).
The operatic Swati Tirunal kriti in ragamalika,
`Bhavayami Raghuramam,' was enjoyable for its melodious musical
score and for the dancers' unambiguous storytelling skills.
The girls juggled multiple roles with meticulous
timing and discipline, yet one would wish for a greater dramatic
component to be woven into the storylines. The treatment at times
even felt too clinical. On the other hand, the narration was well
presented, especially in the line, `Ati ghora Surpanakha' where the
dancers related the sequence of events while they moved in opposite
directions within concentric circles.
The group displayed excellent timing in the nritta
segments. The theermanams recited with authority by Sridevi,
sparkled with rhythmic challenges in the guise of changing speeds
and nadais. The dancers, however, should work on improving footwork
and posture though. There is also a sense of awkwardness in the gait
of some dancers that has to be addressed.
``Chandrachooda," a ragamalika devarnama on Siva,
``Kaliyuga Varadhan," a Brindavani padam on Muruga, and a Kalinga
Narthana thillana in Hamsanandhi and Suruti, Adi talam completed the
repertoire. The dancers were: Ahalya Kodali, Jyotsna Vinayak,
Prerana Purohit, Arya Palakurthi, Shivani Shrivastava and Krina
Shah. One of them said they had to choose between enjoying a lazy
summer holiday back home and dancing in the Indian heat and that
they were glad they had chosen the latter... A true celebration of
the Indian heritage!
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