Looks like U.S.-based Bharatanatyam dancers are fully equipped to meet the challenges of Chennai’s traditional artistic ethos. The performance of Kavitha Thirumalai of San Francisco was ample proof of this.
The opening piece was a Vedanta Desikar sloka, ‘Hari, Hari, Hariye’ set to Kedaragowla and it was truly a pious offering. The next item Pushpanjali in Jaganmohini was impressive. The presentation was aesthetic and devoid of glitz and glamour.
Next, ‘Innum En Manam Ariyadhavar Poley’ an oft-repeated varnam in Charukesi raga, by violin maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, was taken up.
The nayika laments about the indifference of Krishna towards her and asks him whether it was justified. With fluid movements and apt expressions, Kavitha was able to present the varnam with all its poignance and grace. The interwoven sollu kattus were soft.
The sancharis for the lines ‘Munnam Payindradho Innaadagam Ellam’ were subtle and the dancer neither dramatised the sequences for more effect, nor exaggerated her expressions. Her nritta and abhinaya were well-suited to the composition.