Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Geetika Mukkamala,Srilakshmi.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Geetika'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!

Geetikais 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.

Pranavakaram

Raga: Aarabi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Oothukadu Venkata Kavi (c. 1700-1765)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**We begin today's program with a pushpanjali (or offering of flowers) and a shlokam. This is an item where the dancer salutes god, guru and the audience. The shloka is in praise of Lord Ganesha. He is always invoked at the start of a new endeavor. We bow to the smiling Ganesha. Leader of the Ganas, you bring auspiciousness to the people and shower them with boons, you wear different jewels and gems and you are the reason for the world to exist. The final verse describes a dancing Ganesha whose steps match the accompaniment of the drums. Shiva's devotees and the gods in Indra's court watch you with delight. Oh compassionate one, with the face like a lotus, you help Godess Katyayani by granting the wishes of her devotees who pray to her to marry Lord Krishna. You are the remover of obstacles and the pure one.**

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.

Hemavathi Jathiswaram

Raga: Hemavathi

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Late Adyar K Lakshman Sir 1933-2014

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**A Jathiswaram is a song that consists of only swaras (notes) and jathis (complex beats) in a specific raga and tala. The dancers focus on the execution of basic steps (“adavus”) and hand gestures (“mudras’) in complex rhythmic patterns, devoid of any abhinaya, or expressive and story telling elements.**

Narasimha Shabdam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Smt. Parimala Saranathan & Smt. Neela Ramanuja (contemporary)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Shabdam is an item where a poem is interpreted through dance. The piece presented today is in praise of Lord Narasimha, an avatar of Vishnu who is half lion and half man. According to a story from the Bhagavatham, the two gatekeepers (Jaya and Vijaya) of the abode of Lord Vishnu, Vaikuntam were reborn as demons on earth to be freed of a curse. The story goes, one day they refused entry to some devotees because the lord was resting, and were cursed by them. They pray to the Lord, who says to be freed from the curse, they would be born three times on earth as demons. One of them is born as Hiranyakashipu.

Hiranyakashipu wanted to be immortal and does intense penance to appease Lord Brahma. When Brahma refuses to grant him immortality, Hiranyakashipu asks Brahma that he should not be killed by a man or a beast, in heaven or earth, by day or night, or by any weapons. After securing such a boon Hiranyakashipu became an arrogant tyrant. Seizing the opportune moment, the leader of the gods, Indra kidnaps Hirayakashipu's wife, Kayathu, who was pregnant.

Sage Narada rescues Kayathu, and sings praise of Narayana, or Lord Vishnu, to her and her unborn child, Prahald. Thus the child Prahlad grew up to be a devotee of Vishnu, and refused to pray to his father. Frustrated, Hiranyakashipu ordered Prahlad to be killed. First by poisonous snakes, then by having him thrown down a mountain and finally by fire.

All his attempts failed as Lord Vishnu protected Prahlad's life. Thwarted, Hiranyakashipu asks Prahlad where Vishnu was so that he could destroy him.

Prahlad says that Vishnu is everywhere, in a small speck of dust and in the big pillar right in front of him. Furious, Hiranyakashipu throws his mace at the pillar and out comes Lord Narasimha and brings Hiranyakashipu to his end. The shabdam ends with a verse of Prahlad singing the praises of the Lord – a prayer written by Sri Vedantha Desika.

Kaharapriya Rama Neeve Varnam

Raga: Karaharapriya

Tala: Adi

Composer: Tenmadam Narasimhachari

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This varnam is based on Lord Rama and the primary rasa invoked is bhakti or devotion. The devotee says -

Oh Rama, you are my sole protector. Just as you protected your younger brothers, monkey devotee Hanuman, and the rakshasa king, Vibheeshana, You are the only one who can remove all my troubles and protect me. I place all my trust in you.

You are more beautiful than thousands of Kamas (cupid).

******
**

You are so benevolent that you bless simple unassuming folks with the same grace as those who are intellectually and spiritually endowed.

When you blessed these people, I was unfortunately not to be there at that moment.

We elaborate on how the simple Sabari waited for Rama's arrival and chewed every fruit checking whether it was tasty enough to be offered to Rama. To Lakshmana's dismay, all the fruits that she offers them are half eaten by her first. Nevertheless, Lord Rama accepts her offering understanding her love for him.

We worship you the avatar of Lord Vishnu as the powerful one worshipped by the Sun, the 5 ocaeans and the Moon.

Lord Rama is described as the one who shone bright in the lineage of his Surya Kula ancestors, the one who married Sita, the one who punished the asuras and reduced the burden of Mother Earth.

In the second half of the varnam, the dancers praise Lord Rama as being unequalled by any other God.

King dasaratha performed special prayers because he had no sons, he obtained some sweet rice that he distributed to his three wives, who then had 4 sons. Kausalya's son was Rama, who is my protector .

You followed Vishwamitra into the forest and destroyed the demoness Tataka and saved the sacrificial fires.

When Gautam cursed his wife ahalya to turn into stone, you gave her moksha

you are the one who broke Shiva's bow and won Sita in marriage

Giri Govardhana

Raga: Sindhu Bhairavi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This dance starts with a story.

Krishna wants to make a pearl necklace for his favorite calf. When he innocently asked the gopis to give him their pearls, they refuse saying that their parents would scold them and that he was crazy to think they would give their adornments to his calf. upset, Krishna vows to plant a pearl tree and grow his own crop of pearls. His mother gives him two pearls to humor him. Just as he promised, he plants the pearls and again calls the gopis and shows them his ‘seeds’. When he requests them for milk and butter to fertilize the ‘plant’, they are very stingy in their donation. But lo and behold, Krishna grows a pearl tree and happily harvests pearls and makes his necklace for his pet. Once the gopis see this, they immediately say that it is because of the fertile land of Gokul that the pearls have multiplied. They too take off all their jewels and plant them. They pour lots of butter and pots of milk to make big beautiful pearls. But alas, their efforts do not bear fruit and they
grow only thorns. They seek Krishna’s forgiveness.

This song describes Krishna as the one who lifted the Govardhana hill, the grazer of the cows, the one who plays along the bowers of the forest on the banks of the river Yamuna. He is blue hued like the sky, ever youthful, he stands such that his body is bent in three places,he captivates the hearts and minds of everyone around him, he wears yellow garments, fragrant forest flowers and sandalwood paste and plays on his flute. All of Brindavan is attracted to him and even the river yamuna is rejoicing at his sight.

Slayer of Kamsa, protector of Mathura and his bhaktas, destroyer of the evil and upkeeper of goodness in the world, the Devas worship his feet at all times. We worship him in all his 10 avatars.

Mahalakshmi Jaganamta

Raga: Sankarabharanam

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Papanasam Sivan

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

In this item, The dancer prays to Goddess Mahalakshmi, who is the mother of the universe, to have mercy on her and come and bless her with lots of boons.

She arose from the ocean of milk that was churned by the devas and the asuras.

She is the consort of Lord Maha Vishnu, and resides in his heart, on a lotus flower.

The mother of Manmadhan, the handsome god of love, the most merciful one.

Please glance at us from the corner of your eye and bless us.

We bow to you.

Rusali Radha

Raga: Misra Yaman

Tala: Adi

Composer: Rangeshwar

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

In this beautiful short poem, the poet describes the mood in Gokul when Radha is angry with Lord Krishna. As a result of them being cross with each other, everyone in Gokul is also in an angry mood. All the gopis are also angry, the plants are angry, the creepers are angry at the supporting trees, the trees shed their leaves, the bees come to flowers and the flowers close their petals to them, the poet wonders, how long is this fight going to last? He laments, how everyone is upset because Krishna and Radha are angry with each other. Can some one tell me how long this is going to continue?

The fight between Krishna and Radha is not described in the poem but left to the imagination of the dancer. Radha goes to meet her beloved Lord Krishna secretly in the forest. After looking for Krishna for some time, she begins to wonder where he was as he was late. She follows a sound and to her astonishment and disgust she finds Krishna with the other gopis. Krishna protests and says that he had not done anything wront, and was not to blame as the gopis had lured him there. But RAdha is in no mood to listen to him.

She became so angry that she told Krishna she was not going to speak with him. Krishna decides that two can play the same game, and he too was not going to talk to Her. With both of them not talking to each other, the whole of the village of Gokula is drawn into the tiff.

Radha then gets angry with all the gopis because of what had happened that night. So she decides to teach them a lesson the next day. One young gopi dresses herself beautifully and walks out of her house very happily to meet Krishna, when Radha throws mud at her. She tells the weeping gopi that she is not allowed to see Krishna. A while later, another gopi is found picking flowers from a tree and making a garland for Lord Krishna. The jealous Radha sneaks up behind the gopi and ties her hair to the tree. She then snatches the flower garland from her and throws it away.

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.**

Lamp Dance

Raga: null

Tala: null

Composer: null

Choreographer: null

**This dance is self choreographed by the dancers - Ashmi, Geetika and Srilakshmi. The girls have co-operatively put their minds together to each contribute one piece of movement that flows from one to the other and have set up this dance to reflect the light of their long and beautiful friendship through several tough periods of trials. We are now confident that this flame will shine brighter in all the years to come.**

Narasimha Mangalam

Raga: Saurashtram

Tala: Adi

Composer: Saint Tyagaraja

Choreographer: null

**We conclude the performance with a mangalam. Here the dancer once again salutes God, guru and the audience in a spirit of gratitude for making the program a success. **

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