Neythal – the continental shelf
On 19th February 2011, along with my son I went to Esplanade Theatre Studio with a mixed feeling of what awaits me. We were guided to our seat. Within few second of our arrival the concert commenced.
There was a short and a compact introduction to the accompanists. The first piece was
Lavanya entered the floor like a proud peacock ready to steal our heart. Yes she did. Her mudras were perfect and precise. I enjoyed the way the water followed in her arms – elegant and it seemed effortless. The way she changed from the sun mudra to a lamp was an excellent transformation on hand work.
The first part, Lavanya portrayed a man missing his beloved. In the second part, she portrayed a lady missing her beloved. The way she portrayed a man’s sorrow was different from the lady’s sorrow. Her expressions were admirable.
In this piece Lavanya described Matsya and Kurma avatharam of Maha Vishnu. In Matsya avatharam the way she described the fish growing from a small fish to a big size was very clear.
In Kurma avtharam her expression depicting the dialogue scene between asuras and devas was excellent. The churning expression of the asuras and devas working hand in hand for amirtham was mind blowing.
Lavanya depicts a wife in Neythal region who awaits a husband’s return from the far land. Her heart pines for his attention and care as she missed him for a long time. She imagines how her husband will embrace her on his arrival, how he will shower his love on her. She decorates herself with ornaments. At that time she realizes her bangle as become too loose as she has not been eating well. While applying kajal her mind starts wondering again. Finally she scolds her feeling trying to bring it under control. Her expression was outstanding.
COASTAL FOLK DANCE, AFRICAN POEM & THILLANA
The music was excellent. Veena sounded more like a western instrument. Lavanya’s movement showing boat ride was exceptional. The way she threw her net and carried her catch at the end of the day was brilliant. Thillana was superb. After performing for one and a half hours she still had stamina for the final piece.
I really enjoyed the show, so did everyone in the theatre studio.
The vocal artist Mrs. Vanathy was an outstanding singer.
Miss Lakshmi on nattuvangam did a great job.
Mr. Vedakrishnan’s work on mridangam and tabla was tremendous.
Mr. Gokulakrishna’s fingers on violin and flute played exceptionally well.
Mrs. Banumathy, what can I say, made the ocean enter The Esplanade so smooth and subtle that we were drowned at the end of the show.
We were able to feel the sorrow, the love and the happiness of the people of Neythal. Hope to see other kinds of feeling in her next performance. Lavanya is not only is a seasoned dancer. Having been born in the coastal town of Mylapore, Chennai and brought up in the coastal city of Singapore, it is amazing that she understands the coastal life centuries ago. She is very lucky to have such great family to support her. May the good Lord bless her with more laurels and awards.