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Meenakshi Raghavan draws rural audience to classical dance
For a Bharatnayam recital, the attendance was fairly sizeable. The profile of the audience was not exactly the kind one usually sees at regular dance shows in the city. This recital attracted quite a cross section of people. It was a mixed kind of an audience. The reason was not far to seek. For, this artiste is different. Meenakshi Raghavan, a student of Chandra Dhandayudapani Pillai, teaches this art form to children in places such as Chengalpattu, Singaperumal Koil, Mahabalipuram, Tirukazikundram and the like. Vinayaka Natyalaya, a school run by her, has around 400 students. Through this, she is trying to take this art form to non-traditional segments and untested locations. Not surprisingly, the dance recital for `The Chennaiyil Tiruvaiyaru festival’ on December 24, 2010 at Kamarajar Hall drew fairly good attendance and saw people from outskirts sitting among the audience. Her abinayam to the Ambujam Krishna song “Enna Solli Azhaital” (Kanada rag) was very nice and her `Sanchari Bhavam’ conquered the hearts of even a lay audience in the auditorium. She brought to fore the glory of Lord Vishnu by enacting the role of Lord Krishna as he rescued Draupadi from humiliations of Kauravas. Later, after a brief introduction, “Sambo Siva Swayambo” (Revati rag) was played. Dancing to the resonating nadaswaram and the drums, Meenakshi sketched out the glory of Shiva beautifully. The way she depicted Lord Shiva revealed her knowledge of the art. This particular popular rendition had an impact on the audience. This was followed by a ragamalika “Ulagum Pugazum Natya Kalaye”, a Padam on the grandeur of Bharatnatyam. This was a Tamil composition by Padmashri K.N. Dhandayudhapani Pillai. The recital came to a conclusion with a riveting Pancharatna tillana (Hindolam), a befitting finale to a lovely afternoon of dance. Anuja Rajasimhan on the vocal was impressive. Her singing was clear and neat. She was supported on the vocal by Shankar. Her teacher Kalaimamani Chandra Dhandayudhapani Pillai played the nattuvangam.

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