press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
Tradition got a resounding emphasis as four dancers synchronised styles, movements and emotions, to present ‘Marabu, the Fragrance of Tradition,’ at the Narada Gana Sabha, recently.
Priya Murle, Roja Kannan, Srikanth and Aswathy form the group, Parashah (from the acronym of their names). All of them come from a long tradition of the margam and are students of illustrious gurus (Sudharani Raghupathy, Adyar K. Lakshman, Padma Subrahmanyam, Shanmugasundaram Pillai, Dr. Saraswati, Kalamandalam Saraswathi and Kalamandalam Leelamma).
The group has performed globally with productions such as ‘Bharatha Samudaayam Vazhgavae,’ ‘Ardhanareeswarar Kuravanji,’ ‘Annaiyay Potri,’ ‘Prapatthi Margam,’ ‘Mathru Devo Bhava’ giving them a good name. ‘Marabu,’ their latest offering comprises some pieces from the time-tested repertoire, done within certain accepted parameters of style and tradition.
It was interesting to see how traditional items were juxtaposed with certain choreographic liberties and music was interwoven to produce something fresh yet faithful to the movements handed down by the purists.
For instance, in the alarippu in tisra dhruvam (the dancers in elegant costumes of green and mustard), the movement from the expected to the lovely jathiswaram in Malayamarutham was swift and seamless – instead of the routine dwelling on its entirety. The sabdam, ‘Sarasijakshulu’ in Ragamalika (misra chapu), was done in pairs that changed with the beat and the melody.
However, the ‘Ashtaragamalika-Nithyakalyani,’ (Rupakam) a Seetharama Dasa varnam , saw the synergy among all four, as the dancing was uniformly good and in sync. This is crucial when more than one dancer is involved. If there is no mind, body synchronicity, the aberrations stand out like a sore thumb even if the dancers, individually, are good.
The ode to Shakthi was done tastefully with delicate stances, soothing nritta and tranquil abhinaya. There were moments when the divine expressed itself through the devotees – in this case the trishakhti or trio was offset by the lone male dancer, whose footwork was impeccable. The piece also stood out for the wonderful vocal support by Srikanth Gopalakrishnan, who along with the dancers, brought out the imagery of the Dwarapaalakis, who stand guard, and the Goddess, who is such a benefactor.
‘Valapu Daca,’ the Kshetrayya Padam in Varali (misra chapu) performed by Roja Kannan, depicted the nayika who cannot hide her love for Gopala. It matters not that he has others. Roja’s experience in terms of what constitutes the right amount of pleading or acceptance was logical. The javali, ‘Panchaanga Nodi Bandhira’ in the delectable Khamas (Rupakam) by Priya Murle was done with confidence. Aswathy in the ‘Jaya Jaya Padmanabha,’ brought the scene of the Lord lying on the serpent bed alive. The Mayamalavagowla (Adi), Swati Tirunal composition, was a fitting tribute to her style and manner of dancing. A Thiruppugazh (‘Arunagirinadhar’) by Srikanth showed his adherence to the tenets of a traditional foundation. His grip over the technique added finesse to his style.
The much loved ‘Brindavana Saranga’ thillana of Madurai N. Krishnan, that has seen generations of dancers performing it, received renewed attention that day where it acquired more veneration with the four of them taking turns to do the nritta and the bhava. It was interestingly choreographed, maintaining the essence and at the same time bringing freshness to the composition.
Sasirekha Balasubramanian (nattuvangam), Vedakrishna Ram ( mridangam), R. Kalaiarasan ( violin), Sruthi Sagar ( flute), comprised the orchestral support and performed with élan.
Credit must also go to K. Sethumadhavan, who has been doing the make-up for years, for enhancing the dignity and grace of the artists. The costume colours (Ranjana Dresses and Aharya Costumes) remained sober and traditional. Lights and sound by Krishna Stage and Murugan aided the production in the best possible manner!
From : The Hindu