Monday, June 30, 2008

A feast for the eyes and the senses!

Opportune enough to be in town when Raja and Radha Reddy were performing at the SSVT in DC, I got to enjoy a wonderful performance. The auditorium seems to have updated(?) their sound system. As a result, there was some faulty wiring which caused us to wait outside until 6:30 (when it was scheduled). And then, to see that the first three rows were papered out. There was a 20 minute delay while they were getting the lights and sounds ready. When they closed the curtain, I thought that was also part of the testing phase. Thankfully, it was time for the show to start.

After a lengthy introduction, they started with maha ganapathi. I usually watch out for 2 things - good abhinaya and strong araimandi. Both seemed to be absent. I guess age has something to do with it. The second one was a tarana in eka tala by Pt. Ravishankar. Awesome composition. The dancing duo warmed up a little and it was enjoyable. They had added this piece in fill-in while their girls were getting ready, as they had just landed.

The next one, inarguably the best piece, was by Raja-Radha's daughter, Yamini. What amazing flexibility! Her Shiva tandavam was exceptional, her abhinaya for the navarasas, her footwork, her poses and especially her balance in holding those poses. I was impressed by how rigid her upper body was, when she went down in muzhumandi and back to araimandi. My younger girl declared her 'awesome' and decided she wants to do such poses when she 'growed' up.

Next was Bhavana's turn. But before that, the wiring went kaput and they had to change the sound system. Through all that, Bhavana stayed a pro and didn't move a muscle. While the other girl had showed her prowess in tandava, this one showed her prowess in laya. Oothukadu's composition on kalinga nardhanam was beautifully handled by her.

The finale was by Raja & Radha Reddy. The first half was the ras leela of Krishan and Radha, while the second was Krishna's gitopadesha to Arjuna. The duo were in their elements here. Except that Radha seemed to find the tai-ha-tai-hi sections a little too fast and her hands were below shoulder level. But they didn't seem to hinder the audience's enjoyment.

Usually, when a dancer's child performs, there is a more than normal critical eye watching for faults. The two girls seem to have surpassed their parents. Of course, they still have a way to go, but they are very much on the right track.

The live orchestra added the needed support. Nattuvangam was by Kausalya Reddy and was commendable.

On a tangent, Kausalya is Radha's siser and Raja's second wife. Bhavana is her daughter while Yamini is Radha's. But they seemed quite a team on stage. That in itself is something.

Of course, that has nothing to do with the fact that they put up a wonderful and amazing show.


Altoid said...

:) Agree, I felt Radha was better than Raja Reddy, the daughter(s) far outclassed their parents. Loved Yamini's Shiva Tandavam bit as well, I gave her a standing ovation for it.

One inconvenience was that, I was sitting in the back rows and the doors were never closed fully and people kept straying in(some without tickets) once the show started and it was quite an annoying distraction. I wish they'd close the doors shut after about 30 mins ro so(I can understand there will always be late-comers).

Munimma said...

Were you able to see well from the back? The chairs are all on one level and that is bad design for an auditorium. Especially when tall people sit in front of you :-)

Altoid said...

Ugh, dont even ask! For five-footers like me, somehow 6-footers seem to be drawn to all the seats in front of me, and like you said- the "auditorium's" flat level design is nothing to write home about. But thats a gripe I've always had with events at the Siva-Vishnu temple- its not a real auditorium and I'm sure the good ones cost a lot.

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Anonymous said...

Nice review. Yea, the daughters are excellent, and old age does catch up sooner or later, though I'd be happy being able to move even 25% of what they do at their age.

SSVT is svvt. I've performed when the hall was just brick and walls, but somehow it draws the crowd. The temple has a large patronage no matter the facilities..