06 January, 2015
Qualified professionally in accounting, international finance, fine arts and economics, Ashwini found her calling as a full time Bharatanatyam performer. A disciple of Jayanthi Subramaniam, she has trained earlier under Adyar K Lakshman and Padmabhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan. She is also a participant of Leela Samson’s Spanda dance company.
Her recent solo performance for Karthik Fine Arts Margazhi festival was fresh and innovative strictly within the traditional margam and approach. The combination of commonly performed items with the new twist of a modern artiste’s perspective was refreshing auguring a promising future.
The concert commenced with a Vishnu Kauthvam in Ragam Nattai and Chatusra Eka Talam. The sculpturesque poses provided strong punctuation to the Kauthvam.
The main piece of the recital was a Tanjore Quartet Varnam in Bhairavi Ragam and Roopaka Talam, Mohamana Yen Meedu. The Jathis with adavus danced in perfect aramandi, the sarrukkaladavus, the chaukakaalatattumettus and detailed and delineated sancharis all brought the never failing traditional flavor. The end where the Nayika takes out the arrow from her chest and throws it back at Maaran was a subtle reprieve to the mood.
The simple and direct form of abhinaya from the Kalanidhi Narayanan School continued and took greater root in the abhinaya pieces that followed. The Padam Choodare from the sakhis’ point of view in Misra Chapu Talam and Sahana Ragam was explored with ideas increasing in intensity.
The popular Parakeeya Nayikajavali, Samayam Ide Rara in Ragam Behag and Talam Aadi brought out the supple and fluid emotions of a Nayika trying to convince her Lord to come in without hesitation stating the different reasons to prove that the time is right.
The finale piece, a Lalgudi Tillana in Madhuvanthi Ragam set to Aadi Talam reinstated the traditional approach to Nritta and Abhinaya. The eight directional meiadavu, the cross rhythm patterns in the beginning merging with the song were portions to be noted. A falling leaf like movement with the diminuendo in the anupallavi and the idea of dancing with the lord for the jathisollu in the charanaswaram were highlights of the piece that made a solid statement.
The accompaniment with Preethi Mahesh’s canorous singing, Jayanthi Subramaniam’s crisp Nattuvangam, Kesavan’s modulated Mridangam, Satish’s dulcet violin and Sruti Sagar’s honeyed flute all added life to the performance.
The joy that the performers on stage experienced was contagious and caught on to the viewers.