A feast for eyes and ears
Bharatha Natyam Arangetram of Aneesha Balachandar, Bhavika Shah and Shalini Chandar successfully took place on Aug 3, 2013 at the beautiful Miniaci center of Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Having multiple dancers in a debut performance has some advantages and challenges. This allows a lot more scope for creative choreography which was nicely taken advantage by their teacher, Aparna Matange. There is a huge pressure on the dancers to be in lock step with each other as even a slight miss can be picked by even untrained audience. Kudos to the dancers as their years of training have paid off. A lot of credit goes to Aparna for imparting the thalam knowledge to her disciples. Overall, the performance was a real treat along with the musical ensemble. Each dancer is very capable and I hope they stretch themselves to the challenge of giving solo performances in the future. Jayanthi joins me in congratulating Shalini, Bhavika and Aneesha.
Before going to the song-by-song details I would like to have a word with you about the MCs, Sangeetha Ramkumar and Jigna Shah. It is wonderful to have MCs who are accomplished dancers themselves. Their explanation before each song with abhinaya was extremely educational. They were both picture of grace and beauty on stage. We have all seen this done by dancer themselves on occasion but this format is surely refreshing and thank you for giving us a unique experience.
Ganesha Stuthi – when the singer and mridangist started the evening with a beautiful rendering of a song on Ganesha we all knew this is going to be an enjoyable evening. In Tamil we say “Kutchery Kalai Kattidithu” meaning the program is going to be wonderful. Mridangam usually sets the tempo of a dance program and Sri Shankaranarayan set it beautifully. The well trained voice of the singer, Bhavana Pradumna, was well suited for dance with a bit of huskiness in it and the mridangist was an experienced hand. On the violin was our local maestro, Sanjay Chandran and on the Flute was Sreekrishna Pasumarthy. They added color to the concert. Nice job, overall.
Shloka and Alaripu – All our programs start with a dance seeking the blessings from Guru, God and the audience. Alaripu is a warm up for the upcoming performance. Also gave a peek into the choreography we are about to witness – nice touch.
Jatiswaram in Raga Hamsanandi/Rupaka talam – Aparna had a very well trained voice for rendering the Jati’s, it is no wonder as she is a trained singer as well. Nice dance sequences individually and collectively. It was like watching a kaleidoscope bursting in front of our eyes as the dancers moved in rhythmic patterns in their rich costumes. The synchronization of the thalam among the dancers was pleasing.
Gajavadana in Sriranjani/Aadi – This was a solo performance by Aneesha, who was very graceful. Her hard work through the years of training showed.
Varnam in Poorvi Kalyani/Aadi – As always, I enjoyed Sanjay’s rendition of Poorvi Kalyani on the Violin. His intro piece to the song was nice and the singing by Bhavana was wonderful. Varnam is usually the most challenging piece in any Arangetram as it tests every aspect of the dance – pure dance form, sancharis or story-telling, abhinya or acting and bhavam or expressions. Varnam also tests your mettle as it usually goes on for about 40-45 min. In a shared Arangetram the endurance test is lost a little as the choreography has to allow for each to showcase their individual talent. But I can tell you that each one is capable of taking on the challenge of a solo performance. I am hoping to see that very soon.
Pancharatna Kriti – Jagadananda in Natai/Aadi – very good song selection. This is a well known krithi, loved by all music lovers, but first time for me witnessing as a dance number. Choreography again is done well and executed beautifully by all the dancers.
Enna Thavam in Kapi/Aadi – another song composed by Papanasam Sivan Krithi. Shalini gave a solo performance for this song. Shalini had grace and beautiful expressions. She beautifully acted out the part where Krishna was tied to a barrel and releasing himself. Good job.
Jakkinidaru in Shankarabharaman/Aadi – well done
Yaro Ivar Yaro in Bhairavi/Aadi – a beautiful slow number with a lot of scope for abhinaya and bhavam. Bhavika as a solo performer did a very nice job displaying Seetha’s mind as she watches Rama in procession through the streets of Mithila. There were some light moments in the performance which was very enjoyable.
Thillana in Brindavana Saranga/Aadi – nice brisk dance with intricate footwork and poses. Having three dancers again gave a lot of scope for unique choreography well taken advantage by Aparna.
Nice performance by Shalini, Bhavika and Aneesha. Accept our blessings for you to grow and achieve greatness in your life. Having been trained in one of the greatest art forms in the world – keep that passion alive through the rest of your life. You will never know when it will come in handy. Keep up the great work.