Priya Murali successfully completed her arangetram recently. She was proclaimed to be the first full fledged student of Samskriti School of Dance, who commenced learning Bharathanatyam from its initial stages to rise up to the level of being able to dance solo for a whole evening.
Hamsa Venkat’s introduction of her student paid accolade to Priya’s utmost dedication to her dance, her practice and her thirst for learning which saw her never miss a single class even whilst she was going through her Hsc examinations. Such dedication always bears fruit, as it did on the night of the 3 March 2018 at the Science Theatre.
The ensemble of artists who accompanied Priya were Sri Sai Vigneshwar Vathiar Mohanavelu on vocals, Nattuvangam and Choreography by Guru Hamsa Venkat, Violin by Bhairavi Raman and Mridangam Sri Pallavarajan Nagendran.
Priya’s nimble footwork and adavus were evident from the beginning in both the Mallari and the Jathiswaram. The outstanding choreography of the Mallari, where the audience could see and hear the procession of a Temple idol of the Lord being taken around town with great pomp and show. Followed by the Jathiswaram and the panchabootha slokam. The main item of the arangetram in the Varnam Vanajaksha set to Ragam Bihag in an eight beat cyclic rhythm, aadi thalam, composed by TR Subramanium. Priya successfully portrayed through bhava, expressive movements, Lord Vishnu’s many attributes through the eyes of Andal, Sage Brigu’s hurt pride and lessons learnt by the miserly Srinivasa who later turned into the Saint Purandara Dasa. The stories were interspersed by strong footwork performed with skill and precision to the jathis.
Rhythmic stanzas of jathis were precisely delivered by mridangam artist Pallavarajan with verbal percussion support nattuvangam from Hamsa Venkat. Jathis are intellectually and physically challenging sections of the Varnam, where the dancer has to show her ability to be accurate yet maintain the posture of hand and leg positions in clear geometric movement. Thus adding the right amount of oomph and interest to the longest piece in her repertoire, Priya performed the entire varnam effortlessly.
Priya Murali continued the second half of the performance displaying various forms of motherhood in Dreamtime, introducing the aboriginal dream time story of a Kangaroo’s bond with its Joey. Foraying into unknown territory, the team excelled in mixing, the narrative in poetic verse (narrated by Shruti) to accompanying music successfully. An honest attempt at bringing an aspect of Aboriginal story presented through the Indian medium of Bharathanatyam. This was an interesting piece.
The following padams which are expression dominant in Shringaram the Conflict in Love of two different nayikas, an abhang that extolls the power and presence of the supreme in body mind and soul. Concluding the repertoire with the customary rhythmic thillana, to the very end Priya Murali’s expression remained engaging, crisp and joyous.
A proud fete for the Guru Hamsa Venkat, her parents and families who supported her through the days leading up to the Arangetram, all the artists joint effort saw them being not only supportive but also enhancing and contributing to the repertoire. Most of all to the dancer, Priya Murali, herself for her selfless love and devotion to the artform.