Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Charita 2022.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Charita'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!

Charitais 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.

Tirupugazh Pushpanjali

Raga: Gowla

Tala: Khanda jathi Triputa taalam

Composer: Arunagirinathar (15th Century)

Choreographer: Smt. Rajalakshmi

**This dance is a prayer to Lord Muruga, son of Parvati and Shiva. This is a fast-paced invocatory dance where the dancer offers prayers to God and seeks his blessings to make the event a success. **

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.

Arabhi Jathiswaram

Raga: Arabhi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Rajaram Sir of Kalakshetra

Choreographer: Kalakshetra

A "Jathiswaram" is a pure dance presentation, devoid of any abhinaya (emotions), in which, intricate sequences are fused with repetitive musical notes. 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.

Ayyappan Shabdam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: adapted from Smt Ranganayaki Jayaraman

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The next item is the shabdam. The shabdam has both nritta-abstract pure dance and abhinaya, expressive emotive components. In tonight’s performance, the shabdam is in praise of Lord Ayyappan, a hindu deity worshipped all across India.

Lord Ayyappan, is the son, of Lord Shiva and Mohini, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu

It is said that Lord Ayyapan was born with a bell around his neck.

When Lord Ayyappan was born, he was left in the forest where he was later found by the King of

Pandalam and his minister.

The King took the baby home and raised him as his own.

The legendary stories that surround Lord Ayyappan are described in this Shabdam.

The first story is from his childhood where it was said that when Ayyappan’s foster mother fell sick, she was prescribed tiger’s milk.

Young Ayyappan bravely took up the task to go to the forest to get the milk, and came back riding on the tiger’s back.

The second story is about the evil Asura princess Mahishi, who endlessly tormented the three worlds.

To end world misery, Ayyappan sets off after Mahishi and destroys her, becoming a savior to the world.

The song then goes on in praise of Lord Ayyappan, saying

Even if I am separated from you, I will come to you with an Irumudi, on my head.

An Irumudi is an inseparable bundle carried by the devotee during the pilgrimage to Sabarimala, the abode of Lord Ayyappan. An irumudi, is a specially designed bag made usually of hand woven cotton cloth with two compartments.

One compartment holds the offerings to the deities - a coconut, incense sticks, a lamp, and flowers, the other compartment holds the personal belongings of the devotee.

The poet goes on to say:

In the jungle, there maybe many tigers and snakes but we will still come to you and climb the 18 steps, just to see you.

Shanmugapriya Varnam

Raga: Shanmugapriya

Tala: Adi

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The Varnam is the central and most elaborate item presented in any Bharatanatyam repertoire. It includes complex rhythymic passages along with interpretive dance and stories supporting the main idea of the lyrics.

The first segment demonstrates how Shiva is the god of the gods. Vishnu and Brahma begin an argument about which of them is the most powerful. Shiva transforms into a beam of light and challenges Brahma and Vishnu to a race to find either end of the beam. Vishnu becomes his Varaha avatar (boar) and strives to find the bottom while Brahma becomes a goose and seeks the top. Neither of them are successful and realise how conceited they have been. In the end, they understand and acknowledge that Shiva is truly the god of all gods.

In the next section, the dancers depict how Shiva dances in the golden hall of the temple in Chidambara. He applies ash on his body and adorns himself with snakes and tiger skin. The river Ganga (Ganges river) flows out the matted locks on his head and he also wears a crescent moon. Shiva is the Lord of dance.

Bharatanatyam includes Bhava, Raga and Tala - bha ra tha. The poet in this verse says that the dance of Shiva has it all - expression, emotion, rhythm and music. Shiva dances the tandava to the beat of the music. In this particular segment, the dancer depicts the Tandava dance as Shiva and Parvati to select Shivashtakam verses.

This next section describes how Shivaratri came to be. A man was traveling through the woods when a tiger charges him. Terrified, the man scrambles up a tree and spends the night worrying, plucking leaves and dropping them on the ground to stay awake. As the morn arrives, he rejoices and peeps down to see no tiger waiting for him. He leaps from the branches only to see none other than Shiva himself standing next to a Shivalinga. As it turns out, the leaves the man plucked had been falling upon a Shivalinga at the base of the tree. As he was keeping himself awake, he had been conducting a puja for the lord all night long. Shiva blesses the man and this is how Shivaratri is celebrated.

The next verses go into the description of how Lord Shiva burns down Kama, the God of Love when he disturbs his meditation. It also describes Lord Shiva's benevolence when his devotee Markandeya is troubled by Lord Yama, the God of death. Lord Shiva wears the crescent moon on his matted locks of hair, bears Godess Parvathi to be half of him in his Ardhanari form and also drinks up the poison Alahala when it emerges from the ocean thereby getting his blue neck, the father of Lord Ganesha, he lifts his left leg high in the air and does his cosmic dance to the delight of his devotees who pray. “Come oh Shiva and remove my sorrows and bless me, husband of Girija (Parvathi). Oh dancing God take pity on my being and give me salvation.” The next verse praises the different aspects of Shiva and beseeches him to come quickly. The use of the syllable ' va ' at the end of every line, makes this a very beautiful verse.

Suddha Nrittam

Raga: Hindolam (Viruttam)

Tala: Adi

Composer: V R Chandrashekar (contemporary)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**Viruttam: Goddess Durga is represented, she who destroyed the Demons Chanda and Munda, glory to her Kamakoti or followers. “You, my divine Mother, are the winner of all the battles that you undertook in the three worlds; please bless me!” Shuddha Nrittam (pure dance): This is presented in jugalbandi or a question answer format. The nattuvanar (vocalist) poses the question in the form of a jathi (beats) and the dancer and drummer jointly answer through the dance.**

Vishamakaara Kannan

Raga: Chensurutti

Tala: Adi

Composer: Oothukaadu Venkatasubbaiyar

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This lively song describes the pranks Krishna plays on the gopikas of Gokul, and how he wins their hearts.

While Krishna and his friends make a human pyramid and steal a pot of butter hanging from the ceiling, the gopika arrives and catches him red handed. She wants to take him to his mother Yashoda, but is unable to lift him up. She then tries to tie him with a rope and pull him, but is not able to.

When the gopika is churning butter, Krishna pleads for more and more butter and is never satisfied. When Krishna throws a tantrum, the gopika accepts a bribe from Krishna and plays with him and enjoys his singing and dancing.

She says “He is blue like the sky, and resides in their hearts”

In the concluding verse, Krishna asks the girl from next door to sing for him and when she says she doesn't know that particular song, he pinches her cheek and laughs at her. The gopika soothes the girl and scolds Krishna but her anger soon melts away and she enjoys dressing him up elaborately.

New Tamil Padam - NEW

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New Thillana - NEW

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Pavamana Mangalam

Raga: Saurashtram

Tala: Adi

Composer: Saint Thyagaraja (1767-1847)

Choreographer: Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale (1904-1986)

The dancer will now conclude her recital with a Mangalam saluting God, Guru and the audience for making her performance a success.

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