Bharatanatyam Arangetram - Kumari Medha Swaminathan
Student of Smt . Lakshmi Swaminathan
(Director of Natananjali School of Dance, Bethesda, MD)
A Report- Vinatha Kumar
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Cultural Arts Center , Montgomery College , Silver Spring, MD
Medha, entered the stage, wearing a beautiful shade of Pink costume with an orange border, and made a great first impression by performing a crisp jati sequence, as she danced her way to the Altar of Lord Nataraja and offered flowers to the Lord in a devotional mood
Medha then proceeded to seek the blessings of her Mother Guru Smt . Lakshmi and other members of the Orchestra and then starting her performance*Sri Ganapati Ninne Kaii Tozhunnen*
Sri Ganapati Ninne Kaii Tozhunnen `
Composed by Sri S.A Raman,
Choreographed by Lakshmi ,
Medha performed an elaborate Teermanam with well executed hand gestures and intricate footwork . Medha's brisk Nritta sequence was so captivating that it set the tempo for the rest of the dance. Lakshmi's choreography of this item was marvelous specially the Jati patterns . Medha traversed the entire stage both diagonally and linearly while executing the jatis with a great deal of flair and finesse. Medha also portrayed the different poses of the Elephant headed God with Zest and Zeal so much so that one felt as if Nartana Ganapathi himself was dancing before one's eyes . At one point, Medha's description of Lord Ganapahi as Amba suta ( Parvati's son) with the soft sounds of Lingaraju's drumbeats in the backgound , was so moving, that it touched the heartstrings* Dattatreya Trimurthy Roopa*
Devotional item on Lord Dattatreya ,
Composed by Ganapathy Satchitananda Swamiji .
Keertanam - ` Dattatreya Trimurthy Roopa`
Specially choreographed by Sri. N. Srikanth Natarajan ,
Medha created a very authentic imagery of the three headed God with Rosary Beads, Kamandalu, Trishoola, Damaru, Conch and Discus. Medha's abhinayam was full of Sattwika bhava and the mood She created was Sublime.
Medha's rendition of this devotional item was so realistic that a Tantrik advaitin like me resonated very well with the description of Adi Guru Dattatreya as being the Kalpavriksha (wish fulfilling tree ) and Kamadhenu ( wish fulfilling cow) . Srikanth's choreography of Dattatreya's imagery was indeed masterly.*Angayar Kanni Anandam Kondale*
While Smt. Vara Anantaraman, the charming MC for the evening, introduced the Orchestral Team and the Guru to the Audience, Medha changed into another costume for the next item . Medha looked pure and pristine like the Maiden Goddess Angayarkanni , clad in a jasmine white costume with a multi colored Fan adorning her waist .
Pada varnam- ` Angayar Kanni Anandam Kondale`,
Composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman ,
Creatively choreographed by N. Srikanth Natarajan,
Medha handled this challenging item with expertise like a seasoned dancer . Medha demonstrated competence in all three areas Nritta , Natyam and Abhinayam .
In the very first Jati sequence, Medha was captivating with her clean, perfect diamond shaped aramandis , graceful hand movements and strong footwork and jatis with complete finishes . While Medha was brilliant in executing the complex jathis , Guru Lakshmi's powerpacked Solukattus added that extra dimension to Medha's technical virtuosity. .
Medha's sense of Rhythm is impeccable and so is her understanding and grasping of all the finer nuances of Natya shastra . In this Varnam dominated by Navarasa , Medha shone brilliantly in the ` Digvijayam` scene as the Warrior Goddess when she stomped around the stage in powerful strides in a Chariot . Indeed , a Jhansi ki Rani moment -` Veera ` at its best .
Medha was alluring when she displayed the emotion of a lovelorn Nayika walking back and forth on stage with a coy and bashful look - Her graceful gait reminded one of Navarasa nata bhamini. Sringara ... My favorite rasa was of course the ` Roudra ` rasa where Medha was simply outstanding as ` Kali Mahakali .... ` - Her eye expressions with the Vengeful look were phenomenal and her postures as the Weapon Wielding Devi was ` Shakthi` personified . Credit goes to Srikanth for creating so many Goddesses in One Varnam - from The compassionate Meenakshi to Sri Chakra Nilaya Vaasini Sri Lalita Tripura Sundari not to speak of the Devi Mahsasura Mardini and Kali Kapalini of ` Devi Bhagvatam.` In the final scene , when Medha stood as Devi Meenakshi with her left hand resting on her side , her torso elevated and her waist wearing a curved look and the right hand holding the Parrot and her Face full of Compassion - It was indeed a Moment of Bliss . Special mention must be made of the talented Orchestral team who contributed in a large measure to the incredible success of this Navarasa Pada Varnam.
After a brief intermission, Medha appeared in an aestheticlly designed blue outfit with an ornate pearl necklace studded with red and green kemp stones.
* Shambhu Natanam*
Composed by Sage Patanjali
Choreographed by Srikanth .
Medha once again proved her prowess in Nritta with her strong arms and elongated leg extensions . It was amazing to watch Medha perform intricate Jati patternns with the scuptiuresque postures of Shiva. In this item, Medha's powerful leg kicks and yogic leg raises were amazing . Medha weaved a mini Varnam out of this and her endurance and stamina in executing the intense jathis and korvais was incredible . Srikanth excels in creating authentic images of all Hindu Gods/godesses and that is one reason why his choreography is out of this world.
*Ban Chale Ram Raghurai*
Composed by Tulasidaas ,
Choreographed by Lakshmi ,
Medha was incredibly convincing in portraying the ` Viraha Bhava` of a Nayika experiencing the pangs of seperation from her beloved - in this instance , the Nayikas were none other than the men and women of Ayodhya ( the Praja) who were lamenting the fourteen year exile of their Raja Ram . In this piece, Medha's every limb spoke - her expressions of sorrow as the grief stricken Dasaratha or the weeping and wailing men and women of Ayodhya , were poignant . At the concluding scene when Medha slumped on the floor with her right hand resting on her forehead in great remorse , My eyes became moist .
Medha proved what a versatile dancer she is with her next item ` Vishamakara Kannan` composed by Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyer and choreographed by Srikanth. Medha's transformation from a Praja in distress to a naughty and playful Krishna, was incredible . Medha's mischievous expressions as Krshna and the expressions of frustrations as Gopis were natural - at times her bhavam produced chuckles in the audience specially when she rolled her eyes or pouted her lips. This item was specially appealing because of both its dance in folk style and and lilting music .*Thillana in Mohankalyani
The concluding item
Thillana in Mohankalyani .
Composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman
Choreographed by Lakshmi .
Medha once again shone brilliantly in her flawless execution of jathis, adavus and korvais .
Medha's Nritta is impeccable and faultless and today she established herself as a dynamic dancer with a superb mastery over Nrittaa and fantastic mukhabhinayam, full of fluidity.
Medha is a complete performer . She finished her arangetram on a strong note with a devotional rendition of Namdev's abhang on Vittala . As Medha circled on the center of the stage chanting ` Vittala ` with her both hands up in the Air , she brought the house down with bhakthi pravaham. The capacity crowd in the hall stood up to give Medha a standing Ovation and clapped non-stop.
Medha is born to dance but the credit for bringing Medha to this level of perfection goes to her Mother and Guru Lakshmi . Lakshmi's Tough Love has paid rich dividends and Medha is now a distinguished Bharatanatyam dancer with a bright future . Also, Lakshmi deserves a big hand for coming up with an all new Repertoire although i would have loved to see Medha perforn ` Nindrandu` , her masterpiece.
The Lifeline of today's Arangetram was the fine Orchestra which included Srivatsa, the Vocalist; Lingaraju, the Mridangam player; Sandhya Srinath, the Violinist ; Raman Kalyan the flautist ; Lakshmi , the Nattuvanar .
Srivatsa was mesmerizing with his magnetic voice and his delineation of all ragas exemplary especially the Swara prastaras. Lingaraju and Medha had formed their own holy alliance on stage Lingaraju playing the drums in total sync with Medha's dancing bells - Sense of rhythm was excellent.
Sandhya Srinath's bowstrings on the Violin sing in a melodious language of their own and today once again , she touched the inner sanctum of our Soul, specially in the two Lalgudi compostions, her guru. Raman Kalyan , as always , takes us to the Land of Brindavana with his ` Adharam Madhuram` Flute and he excelled in that dance item on ` Vishamakara kannan.` He is a crowd pleaser with his antics too on stage . A huge thanks to the most charming MC of the evening , Smt. Vara Anantaraman, whose brief introductions and succinct explanations were a welcome relief. She pronounced all the raga names and composers names correctly - a bonus point .
Finally, huge congratulations to Medha's parents Lakshmi and Gopal , who were so hospitable A word of appreciation for N. Srikanth Natarajan who converted Bhakthi into a Tenth Rasa this evening with his creative choreography of Dattatreya, the Adi Guru , Mother Goddess Angayarkanni , Shambo, the King of Dance and Kannan, the darling of the Gopis
*For information/for performance forward the enquiry
Do not copy, Copyrights Acknowledged, Vinatha Kumar, Bharatanatyam