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Scintillating performance by Guru Bhavani Anantharaman’s students enthral audience

Performance by Yatika Bhaskaran and Saanvi Raj Singh, students of Guru Bhavani Anantharaman, reflected synchronisation and coordination

It was indeed a special day for Bhavani’s Prasannalaya and its head, Guru Bhavani Anantharaman as two of her young students made their stage debut, arangetram.

Yatika Bhaskaran and Saanvi Raj Singh performed at the Capital’s Triveni Kala Sangam in Mandi House to a packed house last month. The two have been learning from their Guru for the last eight and seven years respectively.

The event turned out to be special as both performed together exhibiting their fine teamwork and synchronisation while also displaying their individual talent in their solo presentations.

The two started the evening with Nandi chol in Vasantha raga set to Adi tala which is a composition of rhythmic syllables. Explaining the composition Anantharaman told India Narrative: “Nandichollu refers to syllables originating from Nandi’s mridangam. Nandi is famous for his mastery over rhythm and accompanies Shiva on the mridangam during the celestial dance. Lord Shiva is believed to have danced to the syllables played by Nandi on his mridangam.”

Yatika and Saanvi
There were several performances in the evening that featured both the debut dancers

The two dancers executed crisp movements in their fast presentation which was Jathiswaram in Arabi raga which was followed by a varnam in praise of Lord Ganesh in Nattakurinji raga.

Elaborating on varnam, Anantharaman observed: “Varnam is the most enthralling, interesting and a challenging item in a Bharatnatyam recital. It measures one of the ‘Dashapraanas’ (the 10 vital characteristics of a good dancer) which is ‘ashrama’ or endurance. It is the longest and the most demanding item where the dancer uses her feet dancing to the Adavu-Jatis while the hands and the hastaas indicate the meaning of the song. The inner emotions are portrayed by the artist through Satvika-abhinaya involving subtle facial expressions.”

Both the intricate syllables and matching complex nritta made this presentation interesting for the audience who appreciated the efforts of the dancers.

Yatika and Saanvi
Yatika and Saanvi impressed the audience with their timing and emoting

What followed varnam was solo presentations by the two students. Bhaskaran presented lasya in Ranjani Mala in Ragamalika. Ragas including Ranjani, Sriranjani, Janaranjani, and Megaranjani are part of this composition. Choreographed by the Guru, there were several graceful and beautiful dance steps in this performance accompanied by varied movement patterns and poses.

Singh’s individual performance was idadhu Padham in Kamas raga and it highlighted the tandava aspect of Bharatnatyam. It reflected the vibrant dance by Lord Shiva the cosmic dancer. In this He is shown dancing to his devotees’ praises; and to the delight of sages in Chidambaram.

Subramania Bharathi’s poem formed the basis of the next performance in which Gopis share their woes about the way Krishna treats them. “It is a beautiful poetry in a conversational tone and is a litany of feigned lament,” Anantharaman remarked. They complain that He offers them fruits but takes them away later while colouring their new clothes and spoiling them. Yet, when he starts playing the flute they are mesmerised by its heavenly music.

This particular item’s choreography vividly brought to the fore the synchronisation between the two dancers.

The event ended with a thillana in Kunthalavarali raga with each korvai executed in slow, medium and fast speed.