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Urmila Satyanarayanan For SICA

Urmila Satyanarayanan For SICA is an event that took place on 22-Mar-2001 in Hyderabad.
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Dandayudhapani Pillai and K J Sarasa. Two great names of Bharatanatyam, enough to draw a crowd of connoisseurs. "But," lamented the organizers, "why haven't they come yet?" "They will," I assured them. And they did - to watch Urmila Satyanarayanan perform for SICA.

Electrifying stage presence, poised execution and well-preserved tradition were the forte of this young danseuse from Chennai, where nitpicking critiques don't allow you to even put a foot on stage before the authors are satisfied of your caliber. That her brochure is full of high acclaim from them is a sure proof of the stuff that she was made of. And she was determined to show it.

Uncontaminated by the 'experiment' bug that seems to be biting most Hyderabadi dancers these days, her style displayed the ancient dance form in pristine purity. Precise nritta and quicksilver abhinaya added loads of charm to the performance. A flutter of eyelashes here, a pout there, the statuesque stillness of a pose held in unfaltering balance - all communicated emotions at their lyrical best.

Pushpanjali invoking Ganesha followed by Sadanada Tandavam as opening items reminded one strongly of the Vazhuvoor recitals of the olden days (K J Sarasa hails from this school) where the devadasis praised the temple deity and then set about creating an illusion of the figures on the walls coming alive to dance to the chants of music.

Matei was an excellently executed daru varnam, depicted episodes involving Chanda and Munda, the demons who wooed Goddess Parvati and were finally slain by her, thus winning her yet another name, Chamundeswari. Hindu mythology has always provided a rich source for sanchari abhinaya. So why are some of us dancing to the tune of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', and that sung with a lisp?

'Nee Matalemayera', a javali, was short and sweet. Annamacharya's 'Jo Achyutananda' truly revealed the artiste's prowess in creative abhinaya. Subramanya Bharathi's 'Kavadi Chindu', a folk item and a must in every Bharatha Natyam repertoire, was simply lilting, and appeared to be a special with Urmila.

The performance concluded with a tillana, a composition of Lalgudi Jayaraman, and left us in no doubt of the place that this highly gifted dancer has in the field of Bharathanatyam - at the top.

As the recital was in progress, I recalled an anecdote on the Nattuvanars. When people asked Veena Dhanammal why she went to dance shows conducted by Nattuvanar Minakshi Sundaram Pillai when she was near blind, she replied, "To hear him sing, what else!" Nattuvanar Suresh this evening sang with a voice that danced. You could listen to him and visualize an entire dance repertoire.

This was a great show by a great performer.

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This page was tagged for
Ravindra Bharathi events
March 2001 events
hyderabad arts
hyderabad theatre / comedy / dance
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