Clear as crystal movements and deep sentiments flowed through the dancing of Priyadarsini Govind. The artist, who has been nominated for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Bharatanatyam for 2012, presented some intriguing contrasts that triggered one’s thoughts. If her Bharatanatyam performance reached out at many levels, it was surely not a matter of chance. There was as much creative design as expertise behind the gamut of emotions -- humour, mischief, joyful and pride.
Priyadarsini’s interpretation of ‘Ye Mayaladira’ took off from the solemn side of Huseni that mirrored the nayika’s hurt at her hero’s preference for ‘that charmer.’ Although many depictions of the swarajati composed by Melattur Venkatarama Sastri also follow a chirpy route with coquettish references more so for the refrain in the latter half, this presentation projected the heroine as maintaining her sense of dignity and remaining loyal to the hero who was accorded the dignity and respect due to the Lord Varada. The jatis too retained the same tinge of intensity.
The strikingly executed ‘thaihath thaihi’ formed a frequently seen motif in the nritta segments. “How did she attract you? What made you forget me?” were the variations on the words. Although not without its lighter moments, this was, by and large, a sensitive depiction which concluded with the heroine’s brushing away a tear.
Sharp bursts of energy tempered by grace were the opening notes for the recital with the sloka ‘Shadananam’ in praise of Lord Muruga and Alarippu in Misra Chapu. With sweeping diagonal actions and the background singing of Tiruppugazh, Priyadarsini brought in energy which, notwithstanding the disorder of the costume fan, remained focussed.
Vocals by Arun Gopi and nattuvangam by K. S. Balakrishnan, mridangam by Shaktivel Muruganadam and violin by N. Sigamani provided sturdy support to the dancing.
“What could be the reason that your leg remains so?” the poet Papavinasa Mudaliar asked, for ‘Nadamadi Thirintha Padam’ in Khambodi. Round eyed innocence and a recounting of Siva’s legendary feats as in subduing Yama or arresting Ganga in his locks, formed the vivid telling of the Ninda stuti. If the dancing was effective, the oratory by the artist elucidating the lyric was more so in its spot-on timing.
The lady who revels in the hero’s love for her and her music made a sprightly image for ‘Smarasundaranguni,’ the javali in Paras by Dharmapuri Subbarayar. The appreciation for the heroine’s veena playing and his totally enamoured state were quickly conveyed through Priyadarsini’s nimble abhinaya. The translucent beauty and compassionate quality of Goddess Meenakshi were delicately handled both in the composing and the dancing. Minimal movements that extolled the Devi and emphasised surrender at her feet followed the thillana in Sindubhairavi and Adi a composition of violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman.