The Music Academy with its ‘Hindu’ flavour brought about ‘seasonal’ changes. Those attuned musically were also given a visual treat of dance. Amidst applause, brickbats, appreciation and critiquing, the veterans danced. Any function of this stature will obviously come under public scrutiny and the voices in the gallery never wasted a moment. Every aspect of the dance and the dancer was discussed. There were whispers in the gallery about the dancer’s aesthetics, the heavily made-up face, the garish costumes, unaesthetic size of the dancer and so on.
The senior brigade breezed in with a vengeance sweeping the viewers off their feet. The morning series was reminiscent of ‘Bhoole Bisre Geet’ bringing with it memories of art that was based on tradition, simplicity and classicism. As always, Padma Subrahmanyam was in complete control on the first day of the series, displaying her mastery over her art. Her heightened dramatic prowess which makes her dance distinctive was seen in full measure. Her gestural variations for the ‘kili’ (parrot) was spellbinding and viewers could even clearly visualise the tail feathers of the parrot. Chitra Visweswaran transported the viewers to a higher plane with her focus on bhakti while rendering a Meera bhajan. Lakshmi Viswanathan’s mastery over abhinaya was evident throughout her performance. Noteworthy was her use of diagonal movements on stage- alternating between Krishna and Kuchela in the Kuchelopakhyanam sequence. Anita Ratnam made an impact with her excerpt from Neelam where her abhinaya skills came to the fore. Dancing in a static position for one of the songs, she was framed by a series of hanging lamps which added an aesthetic touch. Shanta and V.P. Dhanjayan evoked the poetic mood of Jayadeva in their ashtapadi sequences, Vyjyanthimala Bali’s majestic rendering of Syama Sastry’s swarajati Amba Kamakshi brought out the grandeur of the composition. The clean adavu-s, and crisp teermanam-s combined with her hallmark grace and strict adherence to tradition left an everlasting impression. Rhadha’s performance was yet another vintage classic, bringing out the grace of the Vazhuvoor bani. A fitting finale was C.V. Chandrasekhar’s performance where he proved that a seventy plus body can still create magic. His Sankara rudra roopa mesmerised the audience, and they responded with a standing ovation which he so richly deserved. The vintage series thus stood testimony to the fact that vintage- whether in cars, wine or in art, is definitely ‘a class apart’.
Source: Sruthi Magazine. You can get more info if you have a paid membership