Art lovers in Kuala Lumpur were feted to a special Bharata Natyam fest between Feb 26 and March 6, getting a chance to witness four arangetrams one after another in the city’s Shantanand Auditorium at the Temple of Fine Arts centre in Brickfields.
All four dancers were trained for their arangetram by one of TFA’s artistic directors and prominent dancer, Shankar Kandasamy. That he did a good job in training the dancers and choreographing their dances, was seen by the excellent arangetram performances of the students.
Arangetrams are actually must see performances as the dancers have been known to put up their best at these shows which is held to launch them on stage as full fledged dancers. These shows are usually financed by their parents and is free of charge for the audience. I managed to catch the first of these arangetrams put on by Shaan Talya Hayes on Feb 26.
Following fine displays in the Alarippu and Jatiswaram, Shaan was in her element in the heart of the show, the varnam. From the opening strains of Velanidam, Shaan was the quintessence of the love smitten nayika pining for the handsome Velavan or Muruga the valiant commander-in-chief of the army of the Devas. The fluid and well distributed choreography afforded her a wide space to display her grace and youthful vigour in executing an interesting variety of well timed jatis.
The dancer’s natural grace and beauty combined with the abhinaya, soulful singing of Nandakumar Unnikrishnan, Nattuvangam by Shankar and divine music of Vasanthapuram Ramamurthy Chandrashekar (mrdangam), Kanagamani Vijeyendra (violin) and C. Shridar (flute), made me reminisce of the apsara dancers of the Gandharva Loka that we have read so much of in the Puranas.
The arangetrams that followed were by Aditi Ainkari Manoharan (Feb 27), Shivaani Kulanthaippayan (March 5) and Vaishali Murali (March 6).
Picture courtesy of Vinod Shankar Menon