It was her first performance in the city, but the Bharatanatyam performance by Uma Nambudripad Sathya Narayanan did not fail to dazzle the audience. She could regale a rapt audience. When she presented the popular Purandara Dasa composition, “Jagadoddharana” in Raga Kapi, Yasoda is singing a lullaby to little Krishna but she realises that he is also the universal lord. The audience much appreciated the way she asked them to stop the applause, because Krishna was sleeping.
The vibrant 50-minute piece, choreographed by Guru Chitra Visveswaran, who kept a protective eye on her protégé from the front row, presented a dancer who has grown in confidence, energy and maturity. She has adapted and internalised Guru Chitra’s dynamic style that involves adavus-in-motion and introduction of the flick of the head and wrist to finish with a flourish, in a sense.
This modern-day version of Guru Chitra is conscious of the trend towards maintaining good lines, sitting in proper araimandi especially for thattu-mettu sequences or during the theermana adavus and infusing adavus with energy. Though some of these trends are not new to the style, there is a studied attempt by Uma to go with the times. Of them, the Narasimha and Vamana avataras were stand-out sequences when both the dancer’s sensitive portrayals and the melodious music came together gloriously. Uma’s capable depiction of each avatara had a well-rehearsed finesse. The recital marks a new chapter in Uma Nambudripad Sathya Narayanan’s Bharatanatyam career.
The star of the evening indeed was Uma Namboodripad Sathya Narayanan, a disciple of Chitra Visweswaran from Chennai. She did her guru proud. Beginning with Ananda Ganapati, Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyer’s prayer, with her graceful movements and an ability to cover the stage with typical Vazhuvoor bani, the utplavanas, jumps and going back swaying the body, she revealed the beauty of Bharatanatyam.
In abhinaya to Purandaradasa’s composition in ‘nindastuti’ format, asking “why are you not listening O Lord, you who saved Prahalada and also Draupadi,” Uma displayed the emotions in a telling manner. With Madhurashtakam interwoven with tillana in Brindabani sarang composed by Visweswaran, Uma won the hearts of connoisseurs. The accompanists gave her excellent support.
Uma Namboodripad Sathya Narayanan’s exceeded everyone’s expectations by all means for a morning recital. Performing abhinaya to the famous Purandara Dasa kriti ‘Jagadodharana’, one forgot it was Uma on stage. All one saw was Yashodha’s motherly love for Krishna till the lights came on. Uma is easily one of the super-talented youngsters we have around in today’s Bharatanatyam brigade.
Uma is one of Chitra Visweswaran’s prized students and she embodies the best of her guru with an added musicality all her own. Good luck to a talented young woman, who dances, sings and also conducts shows with excellent nattuvangam skills. A rare triple treat in today’s world where even the devi-divas cannot hold a single note!View
Reinforcing the truth that command over music makes for a superior dancer was Uma Namboodripad Sathya Narayanan. What gave impact to the interspersed theermanams was not just precision in grace in Uma’s dance but also the perfect cadence coordination in the accented points of the dancer’s rhythm with the emphasized sollus in Chitra’s nattuvangam.View
Her approach to the art form is that of a true upasaka and her thorough knowledge of Carnatic music enhances her skills as a dancer. A disciple of Chithra Visweswaran, her performance was evocative of her guru's style. It was evident that she was a staunch follower of Vazhuvoor bani. Her dexterity in utilisation of the stage was commendable. The Swati padam ‘Panimathimukhibaale' in Ahiri showcased her innate talent in delineating the inner beauty of the meaning of the lyrics. The hope and expectation of the nayika was expressively displayed during the line ‘Innu varumen kaanthan ennanudinamum'.
Abhang groups were present in large numbers to enjoy the compositions of Tukaram and Namdev and Uma gave them enough reason to be happy. Dressed aptly in a ‘Nawari’ Sari, complete with a traditional ‘nath’ on her nose, Uma kept up the devotional quotient in her presentation by punctuating it with well thought out sancharis of Panduranga.
Her nritta is graceful and polished. She covered the stage with ease. It revealed her strong grip in taalam and her attention to the small details in nritta.
Endowed with a supple physique that can bring out the varied picturesque nuances of the Vazhuvoor bani, her pleasing stage presence and serene face added a further touch of divinity to her portrayal. Uma’s talent in vocal music enriched her mimetic interpretations. Her communication was replete with bhava.