Monday, 26 January 2015

Seen & Heard by Lakshmi Viswanathan - Songs I danced to and dances that sang to me

I have always loved every piece of music I have danced to. This is also because from my early student years I chose the varnams and other items my gurus taught me. When I started with Guru Ellappa, I learnt what I wanted to learn and as luck would have it, he also enjoyed teaching them to me because he was rather pleased that I could sing, and also appreciate his inimitable singing. Those were the years of my maturing as a performing artiste. The sheer joy of dancing a great repertoire enthused me enough to just do it without any set motive of a profitable career.
The Useni Swarajathi with a complex footwork pattern in the charanam comprising of the seven talas was my first work with Ellappa. With my sister Charu's sweet singing, my performance of  this great composition became impressive enough for sabhas like Krishna Gana Sabha and Yagnaraman to invite me to perform almost immediately thereafter. I always took the varnam seriously but learnt not to dance the piece in too slow a tempo. That is Ellappa’s style. He conducted the recital always at a brisk pace. Mohamana in Bhairavi raga, Dhanike in Todi raga, Sami ni rammanave in Kamas, all became the sparkling core of my repertoire in a very short time. The singing by Charu of these pieces was the envy of every dancer who was interested in the classical repertoire. 

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