Akshaya Arunkumar (USA)
Akshaya Arunkumar, who performed under the auspices of Natyarangam, Narada Gana Sabha Trust, presented vintage pieces choreographed, performed and taught by the Dhananjayans. Shobana Bhalchandra, their senior disciple has performed them herself and when Akshaya, her disciple presented them, there was a freshness which brought credit to the teacher and the taught.
A time-tested piece becomes a classic over the passage of time and is marked by the pristine quality of the patantharam. It was therefore a challenge to the young dancer to bring vibrancy to her performance.
Akshaya opened with the Ganesa Kauthuvam and followed it up with the main piece, ‘Ninne nera namminanura Krishna’ in Atana. The nritta was energetic with clean lines that spoke of arduous training. The abhinaya was convincing and communicative. The immortal padam of Muthu Thandavar in Khamas, ‘Theruvil vaaraano’ is a lyrical and musical sigh of the love-lorn maiden. Akshaya’s training in music came in handy to translate every inflection of the song into facial and body language. An understanding of the context and allusions made the sancharis subtle and evocative.
‘Sa virahe,’ the Ashtapadi set to music in the plaintive Darbari Kanada, is a tricky proposition. Spoken entirely by the sakhi, who reports to Krishna about the longing of Radha, the lines between the speaker and her friend could get blurred, unless the dancer is able to keep the two identities distinct. And Akshaya did so.
Balamuralikrishna’s thillana in Kuntalavarali is a dancer’s delight with variations in each segment. The superb choreography of the Dhanajayans came through in Akshaya’s dancing.