Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Kavya Srikanth.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Kavya'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!

Kavyais 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.

Tam Tam Tam Todayamangalam

Raga: Nattai

Tala: Adi

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: Dhananjayans - contemporary

We commence the event with **Pushpanjali **\- an offering of flowers. This is an item where the Bharatanatyam dancer salutes God, Guru and the audience. We include a verse in praise of Lord Ganesha. The verse goes –

The one who rides on a mouse, who holds sweets in his hand, who has fan like ears, who wears a long sacred thread, who has a short stature , who is the son of Lord Nataraja, and who is the remover of all obstacles, I pray to thee.

Khandam Alarippu

Raga: null

Tala: Khandachapu

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

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. Today’s allarippu is performed to a count of five 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.**

Godha Kauthuvam

Raga: Bhoopalam

Tala: Adi

Composer: Smt. Neela Ramanuja and Dr. Ramanuja, 2008

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Kauthuvam is an item where a poem is first recited and then sung. It is typically performed as one of the opening items and is the first item where abhinaya or expressive dance is first introduced in the performance. In the piece presented today, the poem is in praise of the female devotee of Lord Krishna – Sri Andal (also known as Godha or Kodhai or Nachiyaar). Lord Krishna is also referred to as Ranganatha,



Godha is described as the daughter of the earth who was found near the tusli plant by the priest Vishnuchittar. She is described as the one who gives both material and spiritual bliss and the one who loves Lord Ranganatha.



When Godha strung together the flower garland for the Lord, she tried it on first. When her father Vishnuchittar goes on to offer it, he finds a hair in it. He is angry and questions Godha. The Lord himself is said to have given vision to Vishnuchittar to explain Godha was Goddess Lakshmi’s incarnate and that the Lord liked the garland just the way it was. The verse ends by saying that the deity of Sri Andal is often found near the Lord of Medicines – Dhanvi in the temples.



In the month of Dhanur when all the Gopis are engaged in worshipping Krishna, Sri Andal also does the same. She sees the vision of the Lord arriving with a 1000 elephants and taking her to be his bride. She also dreams of making an offering of a 1000 vessels filled with milk to him.



Sri Andal is the sister of Shri Ramanujacharya. She takes pity on the devotees who are eager to see Lord Krishna. On the birthday of Lord Krishna, she promises to deliver all the devotees of the Lord. Anyone who reads or hears this poem will be blessed by Shri Andal.



She is present along with Lord Krishna at all the 108 divya deshams or holy shrines of worship.

Maate Varnam

Raga: Khamas

Tala: Adi

Composer: Shri Harikeshanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**Varnam** is the most elaborate item presented in any Bharatanatyam repertoire. It includes complex rhythmic passages along with interpretive dance and stories supporting the main idea of the lyrics. This varnam's primary premise is Bhakti or devotion.

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I now invite Saatvika to stage to explain the hands so you may understand it better.

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The Goddess mother is praised in this song and described

as the one who was born as the daughter of the king of the mountains, and

as the daughter of the King of the Pandyas in South India.

She is also described as the Mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga.

The goddess grew up to be a warrior. She was well versed in horse riding and handling different weapons.

She was crowned as the queen of the Pandya Kingdom and conquered all the neighboring kingdoms. She then had the desire to venture to Northern India and conquer Mt. Kailash.- the abode of Lord Shiva. But as soon as she sets her eyes on the Lord, she is overcome by shyness. The Lord proposes to her and she marries him.

The Goddess is also described as one with a slender waist, wife of Lord Shankar or Shiva, the one who slayed the demons-- Chanda and Munda, the one who adorns a crescent moon and who is the mother of the whole World.

We depict the story of how she vanquished the demon Mahishasura. Mahishasura got a boon from the Gods that he would only be killed by a woman, and committed atrocities in the world confident that no woman would be able to match his might. Lord Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva combine their powers and the Mother Goddess manifests in the form of Durga.

She has a 16 arms and each one holds a weapon. She fights a terrible battle with Mahishasura and vanquishes him.

The Goddess is also described as the giver of knowledge of arts, promoter of equanimity among men and women, giver of the simplicity of thoughts, words and action.

She is the inspiration for beautiful music, creator of the peaceful feeling in our hearts, and the reason for us to appreciate the beauty in everything.

The one who slayed Mahishasura, she was always protective of the ruling King,

In the second half of the varnam the Goddess is called Shyame - or beautiful the dark hued one, protector and the center of the whole universe.

Nee Riappai

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Adi

Composer: Arunachala Kavi (1711–1779)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Nee Uraippai is part of Rama Natakam, a musical drama based on the Ramayana.

The whole song is a conversation between Hanuman and Lord Rama.

Lord Rama’s wife Sita is missing. He meets Hanuman and Hanuman is eager to serve his Lord find his wife.

Hanuman wonders how he would recognize Sita and how she would react if she sees him. Lord Rama thinks for a bit and offers his ring to Hanuman that would serve as a sign that she would recognize. He also recites from his and Sita's life and asks Hanuman to recite those events to Sita to give her confidence that Hanuman is indeed trusted friend

Rama says -

Go and tell Devi Sita that I told you

If she asks you "Who you are", tell you are "Sri Rama's Envoy"

At the request of one Sage, I went after the female demon Thaataka

She fell like a Pine tree as I killed her with my arrow, Tell her (Sita) this story

She (Sita) trembled sadly when I told her not to come with me to walk in the dense forests

Then I sensed her strength and told her to come and she gave me a gentle smile.



All our troubles started because you said to me, "Please catch that deer and give him to me"

Kuzal Uthi

Raga: Kamboji

Tala: Adi

Composer: Oothukadu Venkatakavi

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The gopi in Brindavan tells her friends that she feels no sorrow ever. Whenever Krishna plays melodiously on his flute, her heart becomes so close to him that it is no l onger hers. Just like the beautiful peacock dances and the creepers sway in the soft breeze., ehr heart also becomes light and rejoices in Krishna music. Krishna’s beautiful earrings sway and his crown jewels shine in the soft moonlight when he plays on the flute. Hearing the melodious music, the village folk forget their mundane work and rejoice, the grass in the Brindavan forest also start singing, all the gopis run out of their homes and rush to Krishna to be with him and make sure he has a supportive audience, they want to sing and dance with him, the calves and cattle too want to surround him and enjoy the moment in the moonlight. Lord Krishna compassionately plays on to please his audience.

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.

Kathanakuthukalam Thillana

Raga: Kathanakuthukalam

Tala: Adi

Composer: Dr. M Balamurali Krishna (1930-2016)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The Thillana is the last item in the performance, before the Mangalam. This is a rhythmic Nritta piece consisting of complex footwork and captivating poses. A thillana uses Jatis as rhythmic phrases with a little shlokam in the end. It includes Pallavi, AnuPallavi and Charanam. It starts from eye movements, followed by several Mai Adavus set to Pallavi. Then several Korvais (sets of Adavus) are performed set to Pallavi and AnuPallavi. Usi Adavu is a characteristic movement in Thillanas, where a dancer covers the stage by a quick sequence of movements. Thillanas are derived from Tri-Thillanas, consisting of catchy swara patterns, with saahitya containing both Jatis (SolaKattus) and words, set to madhyama kaalam tempo.

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The short verse in this Thillana describes the devotee's happiness at watching Lord Krishna's bright face and lips. Krishna's playing on the flute brings so much happiness to her heart that it causes her to burst into a rejoicing dance.

The Lonely Kid

Raga: null

Tala: null

Composer: null

Choreographer: null

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