The touch of a master


This event was organised by the Arka Foundation, an organisation that is dedicated to helping out underprivileged inhabitants of rural areas. The evening witnessed a large crowd which had come to watch the talent of Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, who is commonly referred to as the ‘incarnation of the goddess of dance’.

The event began with a few moments of meditative silence dedicated to the fostering of peace, well-being and progress in today’s society. The audience was also addressed by Tina, a Spaniard, and Alfonso, a Mexican who had come to India especially to work with the Arka Foundation. Both took a moment to share their experiences in India, mentioning that they had been very well looked-after in this country.

This was followed by the entry of Padmabhushan Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, to the audience’s delight. In accordance with ancient traditions, she began her performance by moving to all eight corners of the stage and paying homage to all the devas of Indian lore. She also sprinkled some flowers on a religious idol placed near the stage, and paid her respects to the orchestra before beginning her dance.

The opening piece that Padma performed was penned in the artha raga, and tried to depict the poetic inability faced by its seer-composer. The beauty of the lyrics lay in the several different possibilities of interpretation that came from them, as well as the suggestive meaning of each word.

This was followed by a piece that was composed in an extremely rare salapam raga. This is a part of Padma’s family heritage, since it was the last piece in Kannada penned by Meenakshi Subrahmanyam, her mother, who was a famous composer in both Tamil and Sanskrit, before her demise.  

The performance of Padma displayed the artistic touch of a master and had an astonishing attention to detail. For instance, in one of her pieces in which she was enacting drawing water from a well, she took care to hold the pot on her shoulder, since the shastras demand that any water which is to be offered as abhishekam to the Lord must be carried above the waist. Her every move highlighted erudition, mastery and effortless perfection.

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