Song of Surrender

Monday, 29 May 2017

Dakshina Vaidyanathan: a talent to watch

 By Chirag Shah

( A young contributor to Sruti)


Dakshina Vaidyanathan made her debut at the Madras Music Academy’s annual dance festival, held during the first week of January each year. The young artist's intelligence as a dancer was clearly brought out in her use of the vast space the stage at Music Academy’s main hall boasts, something which many veteran dancers fail to do. Her dance was marked with crisp and clear movements, perfect rhythm and impeccable araimandi making it a treat to watch.

‘Divine Cowherd’ – verses from Narayana Teertha’s Krishna Leela Tarangini strung together with jatis was the chosen opening piece. The music was composed and set by Sudha Raghuraman, a well-known Delhi based singer. It was refreshing to see a slightly uncommon start to a dance recital as opposed to the more commonly performed alarippu/ pushpanjali/ kauthuvam routine. Dakshina pranced on stage full of life, quite effortlessly portraying Krishna as the playful cowherd, herding the cattle using his stick and flute.

Moving to the varnam, Dakshina chose to present Mohamaginen inda velaiyil, an oft performed varnam composed by Guru Dandayudhapani Pillai in Kharaharapriya ragam. Here the nayika expresses her love for lord Nataraja and goes on to explain how her love and passion for him change with the season. 

In the second half of the varnam Maade, innum yojanai aenadi – Oh friend! Why are you still here procrastinating, go at once! Go to my lord and tell him of my love. Go help me be united with him!’ – Dakshina’s delineation of the nayika was immaculate. The jatis were composed by mridanga vidwan Karaikudi Krishnamoorthy and the rhythmic patterns set by Karaikudi Sivakumar. The composers displayed a good sense of how to set jatis for Bharatanatyam and keep them more or less proportional to the varnam.

The next piece for the morning was a keertanam Saddu madalu bedavo’ a less known composition of Purandaradasa on prankster Krishna disturbing the nayika's morning prayers. Again Dakshina gave the audience a vivid presentation of the story. Dakshina ended her show with a tillana composed by M. Balamurali Krishna in the raga Dwijavanti.

Dakshina’s brilliance as a dancer must be attributed to the strict and extensive training imparted to her by her gurus Saroja Vaidyanathan and Rama Vaidyanathan. There was a certain revitalizing innocence seen in her dance. With a little more diligence and hard work, Dakshina will be on the path to becoming a top-notch dancer.

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