There was beauty everywhere in Aishwarya Balasubramanian’s (nÃ©e Narayanaswamy) Bharatanatyam performance – in the skillful choreography, the poetic movements, the perfect expressions and the melodious yet understated music. The magic was created by the duo, teacher-choreographer Anitha Guha and her oldest disciple Aishwarya, and by their own admission, most of them through Skype sessions.
Behind the scenes, Anitha scripted a success story for herself. She has developed a decidedly lasya-oriented dance style marked by clean lines, precision in footwork and posture and delicate performances. There is a hint of ‘filmy’ in the friezes but it passes for an extension of feminine grace, lasya. The adavus are more rounded, avoiding the popular preference for straight lines; the rhythm is fast with deceptively dramatic sollus which manage to save the dancer from overwork or fatigue.
The skillful hand of Anitha could be seen in the vivid summoner of Ragamalika-talamalika, which was a combination of three compositions, “Vaaranamukhavaa thunai varuvai” (Hamsadwani, Rupaka, Koteeswara Iyer), “Mahaganapathim manasa Dishika smaraamidi” (Natthuan, Rupaka, Koteeswara Iyer), ‘Sri Mahaganapathe’ (Abhogi, Khanda chapu, NS Ramachandran), with jathis in tisra and khanda beats. There was speed, grace, beautiful rhythm, excellent execution and smooth transitions, all done without any awkwardness.
The afternoon belonged to Aishwarya’s demarcation of the injured nayika pleading her case in Husseini’s Swarajathi, ‘E maayalaadira’ (Rupaka, Melattur Venkatrama Sastry). The nayika is outraged and mimics how the other woman must have cast a spell on her nayaka and poisoned her. The heroine’s outrage against the other woman’s wiles was portrayed with finesse. It was drama without overdoing it.
The Swarajathi on the whole was a delicious deal; music (K. Hariprasad), nattuvangam (Balakrishnan), percussion (Ram Shankar Babu) and melody (Ishwar Ramakrishnan) blend into a harmonious spectacle. It was a winning combination of style, rhythm, melody and grace. Well done to Anita!
The team continued with ‘Vazhi maraittirukkude’ (Natakurinji, misra chapu, Gopalakrishna Bharati), in which the play of Aishwarya gave us goosebumps, Paras javali ‘Smarasundaranguni’ and Sindhubhairavi thillana (Adi, Lalgudi Jayaraman ). The surprise was that the glow never wore off.