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Murugashankari, a dancer to watch
The term ‘breath-taking’ took on new meaning as Murugashankari, a proficient Bharatanatyam dancer, performed at the “Margazhi Dance Festival” of Brahma Gana Sabha on January 7, 2011.

The Margam of the evening was entirely dedicated to Lord Shiva. She commenced the programme with a traditional Natarajar Anjali in ragam Nattai and thalam Aadi which ends with the first verse of ‘Periya Puraanam’ (Ulagellam unarnndhu odharku ariyavan). This was followed by a varnam composed by K.N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai. The choreography for the Jathi’s was very complex and well executed. This Navaraagamaalika varnam is a typical example madhura bhakthi, where the Naayika longs to unite with Lord Shiva. Her energetic performance was further embellished by her perfect movements, hand gestures, timing and the feelings emoted beautifully on her face. She captivated the audience with her vibrant stage presence and spontaneity.

Murugashankari then performed “Ennalum Ambalathe Etharkaaga Aaduginraai” in Kamboji ragam and Aadi thalam, populariszd by Seergazhi Govindarajan, where the bhaktha questions the Chidambaranathar the reason behind him dancing for so long at Chidambaram. Here the lasya – tandava sequence and the various tough Karnas executed got the applause of the audience. However, the artiste could have avoided making it obvious that she could not manage the last karna which was supposed to have been the concluding pose or she could have avoided it completely without trying. Care should also be taken to avoid adjusting costume on stage. She concluded the recital with a thillana composed by Balamuralikrishna in ragam Garudadhwani and thalam Aadi. The saahityam of this thillaana describes languages originated from the sounds and syllables of the Damaru of Nataraja. The dance by Shankari for the sahityam added beauty to it.

The accompaniments added to the beauty of Murugashankari’s performance to a great extent, with senior artistes like Kalaimamani. Parvati Ravi Ghantasala on the nattuvangam, G. Srikanth as vocals, Karthik on the Mridangam, M.S. Kannan on the Violin and Baghyalakshmi on the flute. The recital was a real treat to all dance lovers. Shankari has the potential do join the big league of the top dancers in the Bharatanatyam.

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