Bharatanatyam ‘margam’ repertoire has always been a favourite with dancers as against thematic compositions. For one, the latter requires a whole lot of time-consuming research, creativity and originality. By adhering to the established stage repertoire, one cannot go wrong nor come under a scanner for not being unique. Anannya Chatterjee chose to tread the traditional path within which she tried to incorporate a few exceptional pieces of choreography by her eminent guru Jayalakshmi Eshwar. Titled ‘Nritya Swaroopa’, it were these moments of creativity that stood out and made the evening refreshing.
The Varuna Kouthuvam (a hymn to deity of rain) culled from the Navasandhi Kouthuvam (nine directional deities) was a rare one where attributes of Varuna are eulogised as blessing upon the earth and its creation that owes its life to water. Anannya ably depicted the swelling rivers, the engulfing oceans around the globe and all those water bodies that bring respite to the mankind. The crossing of feet as she danced to portray the flowing waters as a gait was singularly impressive. The squatting and hopping posture to picture the amphibious frog was a piece of innovative artistry.
The Maratha king Serfoji’s composition “Kama Chatura…” was another exclusive piece which the dancer took up to play out the maiden, ascetic Parvati questioning Kamdev (Cupid) who offers to help her unite with lord Shiva.
The composition itself was brilliant in as much as it negates while it attributes the qualities of Shiva to Parvati in lieu of her present situation. It was a difficult expression for a dancer to denote two varying descriptions but to the artiste’s credit it must be said, that she did ample justice to the content of this exclusive piece.
The Balamuralikrishna tillana with its striking pauses and tilting rhythm was beautifully unfolded in matching nritta (footwork) which looked novel within the set framework.
The first half was the sedate Alarippu followed by Jati swaram and Varnam – a run-of-the-mill exercise with nothing exceptional expected from a seasoned dancer. The verse that went along with the Alarippu mnemonics was not easy on the ear. The varnam could have had better teermanam (closures); the eye expression for the line , ‘nee sati dora ne kaana raa..’ should have been one of lauding, love, longing all put together instead of the very staid praise. However, Anannya’s sanchari to swara (solfa utterances) was worth a mention.
In the whole show, vocalist Sudha Raghuraman’s expressive tonal quality and singing stood out forcing the viewers’ attention towards the orchestra every now and then. Guru Jayalakshi Eshwar on the nattuvangam, Raghuraman on the flute and Keshavan on the percussion made for an excellent accompaniment. The solo was staged at New Delhi’s India Habitat Centre.