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Rama Vaidyanathan At Mithas

Ranjani Saigal

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

For the first time in many years, MITHAS presented a dance recital by one of great Bharatanatyam exponents, Rama Vaidyanathan at the Chinmaya Maruthi auditorium in Andover, MA.  MITHAS works diligently to whet artists and present only those of the finest caliber.  Rama exemplified that excellence. Combining talent, skill and innovation Rama Vaidyanathan took the very traditional art form of Bharatanatayam to new heights without breaking the boundaries of the medium.

She set out to carve her temple space with the opening number – “Sannithanam”. She used movements trace rectangular paths around the stage and marked the four directions by making sharp turns.   Ata Talam Allaripu Sollukattus were used very effectively in this item and one almost “see” the temple that she created.  At the conclusion she “opened the temple door” and presented Devi as the central deity of the temple.  Using verses from Devi Mahatmyam in Raga Malika she depicted the various aspects of Devi.  Her strong precise movements enhanced the piece tremendously.

She moved on to the central piece, the Varnam  a composition of the Tanjore Quartet in Raga Reethi Gowla set to Adi Taalam dedicated to Lord Padmanabha where the yearning heroine reaffirming her trust in Lord Padmanabha..  The nattuvanar K. Sivakumar ‘s brilliant Jathi compositions combined with her thoughtful sancharis made this a very memorable piece. The idea of trust or “Nambikai’ was brought forth in beautiful ways including one where she depicts the devotee as drowning and being offered the hand of the Lord to be saved.  The idea of the Lord being Kaman , or God of Love was also nicely brought forth.

After the intense Varnam , Rama moved on to a more light-hearted number with a Purandara Dasa Kriti in  Ragam Kalyani , Saddu Madalu Bedavo, where the heroine requests Krishna to not play the flute and interrupt her work.   Rama’s use of Angik Abhinaya, where precise movements of the body add to facial expression was a delight to watch. She then moved on to Yenna Thavam Seiydanai in Ragam Kapi. This piece was perhaps the most familiar piece of the entire repertoire and she did a fine job depicting the character of Krishna and Yashodha.

She ended the recital with Tillana in Ragam Varamu. Adi Talam followed by Adi Sankaracharya's Ardhanareeswara Ashtakam.  Her whole presentation was a perfect unision of Tandava and Lasya and thus it was very appropriate that used the Ardhanareeswara Ashtakam as the finale.

The audience was certainly enthralled by the brilliant performance and those who did not attend should lament missing a great show.  After this fine beginning in the dance arena MITHAS hopes to bring more dance concerts of high caliber and hopes to delight dance aficionados in the Boston area.

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