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Elegance, thy name is Priyadarshini Govind
After every performance, one wonders how Priyadarshini Govind does it? Is it the soulful abhinaya? Or is it the graceful nritta? There is no answer.

Priyadarshini Govind's recital at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium on December 30 began on time after she paid respect to her Gurus. Priya's performance started with a Mallari in Gambhira Nattai in Misra Triputa thalam. It was an aesthetic piece with sculpturous poses and numerous swirls. She went on to do the Kauthuvam in Shanmugapriya, a creation of Madurai Muralidharan.

The lightings, the orchestra and Sri Balakrishnan on the nattuvangam did a wonderful job in bringing out the dynamics of the piece. The part " Erikkum nerupppin pori ena", where the lights were dimmed and Priya showed a flicker of flame from Shiva's forehead was dramatic.

The main piece of the evening, the padhavarnam in Karaharapriya, a composition of the great Dandayudhapani Pillai, with jathis by Priya's guru, Swamimalai S.K Rajarathnam Pillai, and veteran mridhangist G.Vijayaraghavan was a boon to watch. Priya needs to teach the way she moves to today's young artists, for no one seems to have that gait and spring footedness. The way she leaps on her toes and covers the entire stage is also a unique feature in her dance. Everytime she did Mohamahinen, as the nayika tells her friend how she is consumed by desire, one felt the deep soul-strirring passion within oneself, Such was her involvement. The jathis had a charm and their modulations were unmatched, winning applause one after the other. The one Jathi where Priya symbolized the sounds of the bells and the cymbals was well appreciated.

The second-half is where the nayika asks why she has to fear, as her love was no secret at all. This line `Maathe Yaarukaginum Bayama' was shown in very many ways, in a confident manner, in a doubtful manner so on and so forth. One awaited how she was going to do it the next time ahead.The Arudhi that Priya used was so beautiful, both in the first and second-half. Smt. Preethi Mahesh handled Karahara Priya so well that Bombay Jayashree who was in the auditorium seemed to be enjoying the music. The padavarnam has a similar theme as many others but the way Priya handled it was what made it a hit among the audience.

Priya did `Shivadhiksha Paro Raalanu ra' in Kurinji. One might have read the expression, " Her lips said no, while her eyes called him closer". We saw it in Priya, as the Saivite nayika says to Mannaruranga to not disturb her during her Shiva Pooja. In the end when the nayika finally pushes out Mannaruranga and shuts the door, she stands still staring at the door. The nayika then, her mind gone along with the hero, does her Pooja with her body alone. This was an impactful end to the beautiful piece.

Priya brought in a different mood in the famous Oothukadu Venkatasubramanya Iyer's `Vishamakara Kannan'. The scenario was one Priya handles so well, the exploits of Krishna. The main stanza where Krishna calls the next house girl and asks her to sing Bukhari. And when she says she doesn't know, pinches her to make her cry.He then tells her that it was like this that the morose raga had to be sung. This sanchari was done exceedingly well by Priya. The violinist Sikamani, who played exclusively for this sanchari did an excellent job.

Priya continued with Lalgudi Jayaraman's Tillang Tillana in the crisp choreography of SKR. It was done to perfection.Smt. Preethi Mahesh did a good job, bringing the joyous tone of SKR, while she made sangadhis in the sahithyam.

Priya ended with an Abhang by Bhanudasa, filled with Bhakthi, She showed the effect of Krishna's music in Brindhavan in elaborate detail. While she swirled as the chants on Krishna were heard in the background, the audience were drawn into the divinity.

Sri. Sakthivel Muruganandam on the mridangam did a great job, showing great many variations in the sounds he created with his instrument. Sri. Balakrishnan on the nattuvangam did a good job.The orchestra was minimal but effective.

Priya is, no doubt, a shining star among the dancers of today, so beautiful and elegant. She has a class of her own.
Comments
Vivek Menon - vmenon@vsnl.com
I agree with the review. I was present at the performance and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I just felt that whilst rendering an abhang, the mridangam does not hold. Being from Maharashtra, I felt the sound of the mridangam a tad pretentious to the genre of abhangs. A dhol would have been more appropriate along with the nattuvangam. Further, the musician made the abhang a carnatic music rendition which was very distracting. Priya is one of the finest dancers we have in this country. Her dance is a visual treat. - Vivek Menon