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Dance > Review
10 October, 2014

- G. Ramanujem

Soulful dancing marked AkshayaArunkumar’svibrant, evocative and graceful presentation of MATHRUBHYO  NAMAHA – “Salutation to the Mother”

Senior Guru Krishnakumari Narendran’s student Akshaya’s thematic presentation for ICCR and Sri Ariyakudi Music foundation on Oct 4th 2014 at Dakshinamoorthy Auditorium was a chaste margam presentation. The neat adavus, brisk jathikorvais complementing the precise  footwork and the araimandi were well in place throughout Akshaya’s 75 minute presentation. She started her salutation to the mother with Lalitha Navaratna mala. The Mother Goddess is described as the 9 precious gems - Vairam, neelam, muthu, pavazham, manikkam, maragadham, komedhagam, padhumaragam and vaidooriyam. Music by Sri. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan set in 9 different ragams – Vasasntha, Nilambari, Saramati, Hamsanandhi, Nattakurinji, Shanmugapriya, Hindolam, Sivaranjani and Sriragam was lilting and reverberating. The dancer in bright pleasing costumes described Lalita Tripura Sundari encompassing Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi through variety of hasta mudras and poses. The support from the orchestra stood out particularly in the 2 sancharis – one describing Madurai Meenakshi as a child, who grows up to be the beautiful consort of Parameswara  and the other describing the net like fate trapping the fragile human mind.

“Va Laiyotha Vinai Kalaiyothamanam” was aptly choreographed drawing example through a deer chased by hunters [net]. The swarakorvais in each of the 9 ragas and the variety of jathis was audio-visual treat.The brisk piece which lasted for a full continuous 40 minutes saw high energy levels from all the artistes on stage.

If the dancer also understands the nuances of music, the performance is largely lifted. This was proof in Akshaya’s dance. Akshaya is a graded [B] bharatanatyam dancer as well as a graded [B] classical vocalist. Her grip on laya and understanding of the lyrics and harmony with the orchestra brought out perceptible “nadai” and “bhava” variations while depicting the Goddess as the  protector, as the  petite, beautiful damsel, as the curator of disease of indecision, as the one who lives on Mount Meru. The nattuvangam by Guru Krishnakumari was brisk, musical and supportive to the young dancer. 

The next piece was the popular padam in kapiragam by Papanasam Sivan – Ennathavam seidhanai. Girija Ramaswamy’s soft singing matched the mood of the song. The naughty child Krishna pleads with his mother to release him and not to keep him tied. Mother Yasodha, eyes brimming with love for her child and yet strict, refuses to release him. The calibre of the dancer could be seen through her instinctive strength in abinaya and rhythm. The Thyagaraja krithi that followed – “Seethamma Mayamma” in vasantharagam was racy. The chittaswaram was crisp with brisk movements.

The final piece had thillana in deshragam integrated with Vandemataram. The striking and varied poses, the stretch-moves covering the stage were aesthetic and well proportioned.  Beautiful singing by Radha Badri had novelakarams that matched with the dancer’s eye movements.  Vandemataram moved several in the audience to tears. Overall it was a moving performance. 

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