Simple and sweet spilled with exquisite movements and sculpturistic poses marked Swathi and Aarthi Sridharan‘s arungetram which they dedicated to their late great aunt Dr Arcot Subhadra, the first female university graduate and physician in the family and a great role model.
Last month marked the fortieth anniversary of her arrival in Australia, where she lived and practiced medicine for many years before permanently returning to her Chennai home in 2007.
Taught by one of the Thrayee dancers Gayatri Krishnamurthy the Arungetram commenced with a vocal invocation to the remover of all obstacles, Ganesha, by both.
The audio visual explanations of the renditions interspersed through the performance helped the uninitiated to understand the story telling in each of the performances which moved away from the usual Margam of an Arungetram. The sisters demonstrated their knowledge, dedication and love for Bharathanatyam through the progression of the programme.
The sisters depicted their natural rhythmic command and nimble footwork from the Nataraja Anjali and through out the other items of dance. The next piece of Thaaye Thripura Sundari in Ragam Sudha Saveri composed by Periyasami Thooran, depicted Aarthi’s command over her bhavam, ability to emote. The central most challenging piece, the Varnam in Aadum Mayil set to Ragam Reetigowlai, captured the story of the heroine, Aarthi, describing her love for Lord Muruga, which was performed through graceful expressive movements. The Sakhi’s argument with the heroine was performed by Swathi. Both rendered the varnam effortlessly set to complex rhythmic patterns.
The dynamic nattuvangam by Gayatri Krishnamurthy sat well with Subha Harinath’s vocals rendering the part of the heroine, and Aparna Ramachandran, cousin of the dancers, rendering the part of the Sakhi in the Varnam. The flute accompaniment by Ramani Thiagarajan raised the overall effect of drama was a gift to the ears. Balaji Jagannath on the violin was as usual pitch perfect, the young mridangist, Chrissan Segaram was accurate and resounding.
Gayathri’s choreography splashed its brilliance through the dance of Swathi in Idathu Padam, in ragam Kamas, composed by Papanasam Sivam. Swathi proved her excellent flexibility in holding challenging sculpturistic poses during this solo performance. The lighting effects during this rendition finally worked for the dancer, causing the audience to hold their breathe through Swathi’s perfect Aramandi and her natural body muscle movement understanding, not easily gained for many.
The following pieces of ChinnaChiru Kiliye rendered by Aarthi and Maadu Meikum Kanne by Swathi kept the interest of the audience, whilst the Thillana demonstrated the excellent rhythmic command of both the sisters. The Shiva Slokam at the end shall continue to ring in the minds of the audience. The dancers gifted collections from the Arungetram to the Fred Hollows Foundation.