Precision, elegance mark her debut

Precision, elegance mark her debut

Young Bharatanatyam dancer, Hyderabad-based Neha Sathanapalli, makes an impressive stage debut that showcased her understanding of art and Kalakshetra dance tradition passed on by her able Guru Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant

Bharatanatyam dancer Neha Sathanapalli is a promising student, groomed with meticulous care by her eminent Guru Padmashri Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant assisted by her senior student Kaja Neeraja.

Neha Sathanapalli came under the direct tutelage of Guru DrAnanda Shankar Jayant at the tender age of seven, after a brief initial training under Madhavi Marellapudi.

Under her Guru's guidance she has grown into an elegant and beautiful dancer, in the exacting Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam, assimilating the clear angashuddham, split second tala precision, precise footwork and nuanced abhinaya that are the hallmarks of her Guru but also internalising the rigour, dedication and inspiration required to excel in the dance form.

Like all the students of Shankarananda Kalakshetra the budding dancer gave a sparkling recital which delighted the audience. As part of her academy's ensemble Neha has participated in many acclaimed productions and performed in India and abroad in major Sabhas and Festivals.

Learning Carnatic music has given Neha the ability to embellish her dance with a unique musicality and understanding. She is an eleventh grader at Chirec Public School.

Her stage -debut, arangetram was a sparkling affair, with the innate talent of the young dancer on display for all to appreciate and enjoy.

The Proscenium was colourfully decorated with flowers in myriad hues,a cascade of jasmine blossoms forming a canopy over the garlanded Idol of Lord Nataraja setting the stage for an artistically excellent presentation of Pushpanjali and Allaripu, which appropriately indicate an offering of flowers to the Lord and a flowering out where the dance is obeisance to the elements respectively.

The main item of a Bharatanatyam recital, the piece-de-resistance so to say is the central Varnam containing nritta, nritya and natya. The Swathi Thirunal composition, "BhavayamiRaghuramam" is a Keertana in Ragamalika which here has taken the place of a traditional Varnam.

An iconic piece, it comprises evocative lyrics and Swara patterns. It is an exclusive choreography showcasing the story of the Ramayana presented seamlessly in simple, easily understood lyrics.

Many episodes, JatayuMoksham, the winning of Sita, the Surpanakha episode, fight with Ravana were exquisitely depicted. The bounding, leaping gait of the golden deer was superbly done. Next was a melodious Keertanam "AdbhutaNatanam" in Latangi, which describes the awestruck wonder evoked by Lord Shiva's dance.

The deity of dance and destruction is hailed in the refrain as the God of amber, matted flowing hair; so enthralling that even the Goddess Parvathi his consort who follows his every step with rapt attention. Brahma,the creator leads the other Gods who sing.

To watch this dance gives salvation.The item also had Karanas taken from Tandava Lakshnam; BhujangaTrasita, Nikunchita, Samanta, Vishnukranta, Prenkhdita, etc. The performance displayed the extent to which the depth of knowledge of her Guru was imbibed by the student.

Neha at times seemed to float and dance in the air; such was her mastery, grace and skill. It was like a continual sculptural frieze of poses in succession. The charming Keertana "Muduugare Choodaramma" by Annamacharya in Mohanam gave an opportunity to Neha to display the imagery of this beautiful song which depicts the story of Krishna as a young child, his release of the Devas cursed to be trees, the naughty playful God who troubles the Gopis, but is yet adored by them.

Neha expertly showed the expressive Abhinaya required to smoothly transform from the antics of the naughty God to the exasperation that the Gopis feel.

A sprightly and brisk Thillana in Kuntalavarali composed by Balamuralikrishna was well presented by the artiste to conclude her presentation for the day. Live orchestra led by Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant on Nattuvangam comprised Swetha Prasad on vocal, Mridangam by Balasubramaniam, violin by Sai Kumar and flute by Uma Venkateswarulu.

In addition to Bharatanatyam, Neha also learns Carnatic Music from Guru Padma Peri (of Aruna-Padma sisters fame) and has won several prizes at Sabhas in the Twin Cities – Kalasagaram, Sharada Cultural Trust etc. Neha's training in music does embellish her dance with a unique musicality and understanding.

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