Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Anvita Seenivasan.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Anvita's family, we cordially welcome all of you to an evening of dance. I'm , a post-Arangetram student at From Within Academy, and I will be your MC for this evening.

Before we get started, I’d like to remind everyone of some house rules.

 

- No food or drink is allowed in the auditorium

- If you must leave the auditorium during the performance; please do so in-between items

- If you have young children, please sit towards the aisle. Kindly leave the auditorium if they get restless and start crying so that it is not disturbing to the rest of the audience members. Kindly do not let the children roam around the theater unattended.

- Kindly maintain silence and talk softly when the show is in progress. If you talk loudly, it distrubs the artistes on stage.

 

We ask our audience to turn off their phones so they can stay present with their experience of the art that will be shared. It is touching that some may feel inspired to take their own photos and videos to share on social media. Instead, we invite you to write and speak about your experience after the performance. You are also encouraged to share official photos and videos from our social media accounts.

 

In our digital world, it is truly special that you took the time out of your life to appreciate live art. Please prepare to immerse yourself in this experience by turning your phones off now. Please do not take any photos or videos from this point forward. Thank you for your kind understanding!

Anvitais a disciple of Guru Smt. Subhashini Vijay Santhanam of the From Within Dance Academy a global dance organization with centers in the US and India. This evening of dance signifies both a beginning and a culmination of sorts for the dancer which include the endless hours of rigorous practice, varied emotions and complete immersion. All of which was done in the pursuit of excellence for this moment when she finally gets on stage – “Arangetram”. In Tamil (one of the south Indian languages) Aranga means a raised stage and “etram” means “to ascend”.
 
All items unless otherwise mentioned have been choreographed by our beloved Guru Subhashini.
 
For all the items we present today, as long as we are able identify clearly, we will mention the time period of the composition or composer life period so that we get an idea into the history and context of when the poem was written and music set. It is hoped that this will give the audience a deeper insight into the relevance of the oral tradition being passed on thru generations and the relevance of the composition in current times. While several old pieces have deep, timeless, philosophical and spiritual significance and several new pieces share values of a new social context with a unique appealing freshness.
 
We hope that the erudite and sensitive audience present today is able to appreciate it all thru our presentation today.

Mayalamrutham Pallandu Pushpanjali

Raga: Mayalamrutham

Tala: Adi

Composer: Periya Aazhwar c. 9th century

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Pushpanjali is the invocatory dance and the dancer offers fragrant flowers to God to seek his blessings for a successful performance. The dancer also seeks the blessings of her Guru, the orchestra and the well wishing audience. The piece is conceived as waking up Perumal as he is in Yoga Nidra or Yogic relaxation state. He is behind seven doors that open to the devotees offering fragrant flowers, playing musical instruments, offering vedic sacrifices, dhoopam or fragrant incense, holy waters and ringing of the bells.

Following the Pushpanjali, the Pallandu Paasuram describes the glorious features of the Lord – His powerful shoulders and possessing the luster of a brilliant blue gem. The devotee - Periya Aazhwar wishes the Lord to be protected for many millions of years so He can continue to provide solace to the world.

Tisram Allarippu

Raga: null

Tala: Tisra Ekam

Composer: Tanjore Quartet

Choreographer: Kalakshetra/Rukmini Devi Arundale 29 February 1904 – 24 February 1986

This dance is typically an opening number. Starting with movements of the neck, eyes and shoulders, it gradually includes movements of the whole body. It is meant to represent the blossoming of a flower. This allarippu is set to a count of three beats.

Vasantha Jathiswaram

Raga: Vasantha

Tala: Roopakam

Composer: Tanjore Quartet, early 19th century

Choreographer: Kalakshetra

"Jathiswaram" is a pure dance presentation, devoid of any abhinaya (emotions). The dance deals with the execution of adavus (basic steps) and mudras (hand gestures), combined in definite groups. Jathis (rhythmic pieces danced to narrated syllables) are executed combining swara passages (musical scores) in a particular raga and tala.

Neeradal Shabdham

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Periya Aazhwar c. 9th century

Choreographer: null

This shabdam explores Vatsalya Bhava or the motherly love of Yashoda for her son Krishna.

In the Bhagawatam puranams, there are several stories that narrate the endearing antics of the child, Krishna, testing the patience and creativity of his mother, Yashoda.

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Now invite Jahnavi on stage to mime the lyrics, so that you can follow the story.

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As usual, young Krishna returns home covered in mud and reeking of butter that he spilt on himself. Like any other mother, Yashoda simply wants him to take a bath.

But Krishna is not in the least bit obliging. At first, Yashoda scolds him. Then she beseeches him saying she has prepared oil, and tells him she is patiently waiting. Still unsuccessful in convincing him, she then resorts to bribing him with sweet tasting appams for him to eat after his bath. She then tries embarrassing him by saying the Gopikas are laughing at him. An exasperated Yashoda, tries to earn his trust by assuring she is on his side, when the entire village says the butter simply disappears when he is around. Finally, with no other alternative, she tricks him into bathing by distracting him. She empties a bucket on him when he turns his head.

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The shabdam ends with the assertion that those who recite these ten paasuram composed by Periya Aazhwar will become completely free of any worries.

Devar Munivar

Raga: Shanmukhapriya (57th melakartha)

Tala: Adi

Composer: Sri. Lalgudi G Jayaraman 1930-2013

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The Varnam is the centerpiece of any Bharatanatyam recital. This particular varnam is about Lord Venkateshwara the presiding deity of the Tirumala temple. It describes in detail the yearning of the devotees to get a glimpse of his beautiful feet.

The Tirumala Hills are part of Seshachalam Hills range. The Hills comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri & Venkatadri. Ramya will demonstrate the hands now so you can follow along better.

O Lord of the World, can I have a glimpse of your lotus feet that are revered by the gods and sages? You are the one who is compassionate towards us downtrodden devotees. The divine Goddess Lakshmi resides on your chest. The devotee dancer extols the Lord as the one who took on the 10 different forms or Avataras to save the downtrodden.

You are the Lord who measured the earth and heavens with your steps and placed the third step on King Mahabali’s head. You are the lotus eyed Lord of Venkatagiri. The devotee pleads saying the Devas and Munis get to worship at your feet, Goddess Lakshmi is pressing it and even the demon Mahabali has the good fortune of your foot being placed on his head. When can I, at the very least, get a glimpse of it please ?

You reside in Tirumalai in Tirupati and devotees throng look to get a glimpse of your moon like face which is always serene like the ocean waves. After getting this darshanam/glimpse they feel bliss and ecstatic as if they are transported to Vaikuntam itself.

Lord Mahavishnu rests on the Adishesha snake in Vaikuntam surrounded by the Ksheera Sagara or milky ocean. On Tirumalai, he is standing and there is no ocean on the hills. But the dancer devotee says she can see the ocean clearly. Only here, it is made up of the scores of human devotees who come wave after wave to get a glimpse of their beloved Lord, to offer him gifts, to pray, to show gratitude by donating their hair etc. They can never have enough of him.

In the second half of the Varnam, the history of how the deity at Tirumala was formed is elaborated.

Can one praise the Lord enough?

When Sage Brighu visited Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntam, he was resting and did not notice the Sage. Enraged, Sage Bhrigu kicked Him on the chest. While Vishnu immediately woke up and apologized and won over the Sage, Goddess Lakshmi is furious at her husband’s reaction because the Sage had indirectly kicked her. She leaves for Bhoolokam.

Without Lakshmi, life for Vishnu is sheenless and he leaves searching for her and takes on the name Srinivasan. He takes shelter near Tirumala and meditates for a long time and an anthill builds around him.

Lord Shiva and Lord Bhrama come searching for him in the form of cows and pour milk into the anthill so he could have some means of sustenance.

Enraged, the king’s cowherd beats upon the ant hill only to reveal young Srinivasan the with blood flowing from his forehead.

The Princess of the land, Padmavati chances upon Srinivasa and loses her heart to him. Both of them decide to marry and when the Lord approaches the King for the hand of his daughter in marriage, he demands a large sum of money as dowry. Not knowing what to do, the Lord approaches Lord Kubera for a loan that he promises to repay.

Alamelumanga or Padmavathi then marries Lord Srinivasa and they settle in Tirumala. Bedecked with garlands, gems and ornaments, the different ‘Sevas’ of the Lord are a feast for the eyes to behold.

The Lord is still repaying Lord Kubera’s debt with the money offered to him by his devotees.

Ranjani Malika

Raga: Ranjanimalika

Tala: Adi

Composer: Tanjavur Sankara Iyer

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

We present the next number in praise of Shakti, the female Goddess. This song has been composed in a manner such that each of the paras is sung in a different Raga or musical scale. Further, the names of the Ragas are incorporated in each para ending. The lyrical beauty of this composition is dedicated to praising the Goddess mother and asking her to bless to her devotees. Please watch out for these words in the lyrics – Ranjani, Sree Ranjani, Megha Ranjani and Jana Ranjani. They are the names of the Ragas.

Idadu Padam Thooki

Raga: Khama

Tala: Adi

Composer: Papanasan Sivan

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**This keerthanam is in praise of Lord Nataraja, the Lord of dance. The poet describes Lord Nataraja as follows: Lord Nataraja, lifts his left foot and dances in the golden hall of the temple in Chidambaram. Let us join in sincere prayers to him. The snakes on his person lift their hoods and dance with him. The tiger skin that is around his waist moves along with his swaying body. His devotees sing his praises. Sage Vyagrapada and Sage Patanjali feast their eyes on his cosmic dance. Lord Nataraja’s bells resound in the hall. The crescent moon on his forehead shines brightly emitting blinding light. Lord Vishnu plays on his drums. Thus, Lord Shiva, consort of Goddess Shivakami, dances in the golden hall of Chidambaram.**

Azhagu Deivam Kavadi Chindu

Raga: Ananda Bhairavi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Periasamy Thooran

Choreographer: null

This piece is in praise of Lord Muruga--. It says, the handsome God who stands atop the hill of Pazhani, has come to us--. He is the young child of Goddess parvati--. With a lustrous spear--, he went on to win over a horde of demons--. He is the Lord who lives deep inside the cave of our hearts, and showers compassion on his devotees who sing in tamizh-- - a language that is like a pot of excellent nectar--. This noble soul of sterling character is the mentor accepted by the mighty Shiva. He is the one with overflowing grace who assists us kindly, and protects us forever.

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What can I say about the vision of the forms he takes in pazhani--: as a baby--, as a young man--, and as an ascetic recluse dressed in a loincloth--? But I do know that by merely seeing these forms of the Lord, I have gained the ability to defeat all of the shameful deeds that everyone complains about. I will bow down and pray to murugan who is resplendent as a mighty benefactor in this world during kaliyug as he blesses us--, and rejoice as my miseries are dispelled--, and the churn in my heart subsides, so that I can travel the path of righteousness---.

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He is the immaculate being who appears in the temple town of pazhani as a handsome child mounted on a blue peacock--. Sporting a mischievous smile continually on his face--, he is the beloved of the gypsy, vaLLi--. He is ever resplendent in the form of an eternal flame that is never extinguished--, as he protects any and all of his devotees--. He is the one who will not vacate the heart of the composer, and will live there forever.

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The word _kAvadi_ means "burden", Devotees typically perform KAvadi aaTTam to implore Lord [Murugan](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murugan) for assistance, usually on behalf of a loved one who is in need of healing. Diksha would like to dedicate this piece to her pAtti who flew from India even though her health is poor.

Narasimha Thillana

Raga: Hamsanandi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Madurai N Krishnan , 1928 to 2005

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**The thillana is a pure dance or nritta piece. The short verse in this thillana describes the devotees’ prayer to Lord Narasimha to come and protect them.**

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