Hazy Baanis Need Not Impact Style
When three dancers, who’ve etched an individual path as performers and teachers, having learned from a few quarters, take to stage together as soloists, it is not comparisons that come to mind, but their ability to have imbibed from the individual styles and compositions of their acharyas. Baanis are now indistinctive; what counts is discipline and good taste.
Kalakshetra Foundation has often been faulted for its rigidity and uniformity in training and presentation, resulting in “clones”. An unfair, far off the mark label, one would say.
The outing of Theertha E V, one of the Bharatanatyam dancers at Nruthyollaasa at the Seva Sadan in Bengaluru last week, disproved this generalization, her spacious movements, restrained yet expressive mukhaabhinaya, and her feel for rhythm dispelling any notions of her being a rubber stamp. Theertha’snritta, in the unhurried jatiswara in raga Kalyani, kept away from acrobatics, but her wishy-washy muktayas ate into its authenticity. The Kaapijavali, Parulanna Mata, was a dignified portrayal of a nayika imploring her Lord to come back to her. In the Purandaradasa composition, “Jaganmohanane Krishna (Ragamalika), which looks at the leelas of Lord Krishna in awe, Theertha lived up to the lyrics.
What ate into the aesthetics of Theertha’s recital was her shabby costuming—the jutting out cloth of the anklets, the out of place daabu (girdle) and faded costume; Aaahraya, after all, is an integral part of a stage outing.
Constrastingly, Archana Bhat made a bright entry with her neat aahaarya. Presenting two dance compositions of Shijith Nambiar—Chandramouleeshwara, in the rare raga, Revagupti,a descriptive piece on Shiva, and a keerthane, DurgeDurge (Revathi), a salution to the mother Goddess and her many attributes, the compositions were energetic and resonated with a sacred vibrancy. Resounding in Archana’s briskness and fervour, the pieces were sincerely presented. Where the catch lay was in Archana’s choice of the items, as it appeared that she had not internalized either the loftiness or the high-energy vibrancy of the compositions. She needs to out-stretch her movements too, to give the illusion of expansiveness and enhance her stage presence.
Vidhyashree Radhakrishna, the senior-most among them, presented a pada varnam, “Sariye Nee”, in Simhendramadhyama, with Kannada lyrics. No doubt an experienced dancer, that showed in her composure and confidence, the pada varnam was more a let down than the dancer, the insufferable pathos and the monotonous singing proving to be a long drag. When interest dips, so does the appeal. Yet one has to credit Vidyashree for her neat rendering of the korvais although the ardis were indistinguishable. The long-suffering senitments of the piece held little scope for abhinaya, but one could glean Vidhyashree’s ability to emote. There was also an agility the slim and trim dancer displayed, adding to the positive aspects of her outing..
The programme marked a phenomenal 70th edition of Nruthyollaasaof Ananya– a praiseworthy feat indeed. Its heartening to think of the numerous dancers who have gained exposure through this festival over the years.