Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Komathi Lola.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Komathi'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!

Komathiis 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.

Hamsadhwani Pushpanjali

Raga: Hamsadhwani

Tala: Triputa

Composer: Pustakam Rama

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Sanya will begin this evening's performance with a pushpanjali (or offering of flowers). This is an auspicious opening item in which the dancers salute god, guru and the audience. The pushpanjali is followed by a shlokam- an ode to Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning. In this Shlokam, Goddess Saraswathi is described as the one who plays the melodious gem-studded veena. She has a beautiful face and speaks beautiful words. With a gem-like physique, Goddess Saraswati is the daughter of the sage Mathanga and has a good heart. Her skin is like an emerald, and she is the giver of knowledge. The devotees long to see her **face**, the one who resides among the lotuses. She is described as holding a lotus and a bird in her hand, and having a melodious voice.

Mankiya Veena Shlokam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Eka

Composer: Mahakavi Kalidas

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The shlokam is about the Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning. It describes her as the player of the lute or Veena, bestower of knowledge and sweetness of speech, she shines bright like Lord Indra’s gem, she has a fair and delicate body, daughter of Sage Matanga. Mother goddess, manifests in emerald green form, bestower of auspiciousness, who dwells in the forest of Kadamba trees. Praise be to her who loves blue lillies, good music and the parrots. May Goddess Saraswathi bless us all.

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.

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.

Swamiyai Varnam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Adi

Composer: KN Dandayudhapani Pillai, 1921 to 1974

Choreographer: Vijaykumar Srinivasan and M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**The Varnam is the 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. This varnam's primary premise is Shringara Bhakti or love of the heroine towards her Lord Shiva; both as beloved and saviour.**

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**Oh dear friend please bring my Lord without delay/this very instant**

**His face that is as handsome as the full moon is tormenting me because it seems to be emitting fiery rays**

**Oh friend! I do not understand the reason for this ünecessary delay in meeting with me, for after all, is this not the time/moment to enjoy the essence of the spring season, when every being is frolicking about in the joy of union?**

**My Lord is none other than the one who is praised by the entire world; and who delights none other than Goddess pArvati or Devamanohari herself. And the one who explained the essence along with the context of the primeval texts and vedas**

**He is the Lord who gave birth to kArtikEya, the faced one.**

**Despite his omniscience, he roams around like a wastrel without any purpose/protection**

**He has concealed a woman in one half of his body referring to the Ardhanari manifestation of Lord Shiva:**

**Oh friend! My desire is become unbearably excessive because my mind and heart are constantly filled by thoughts of him, Siva; who wears snakes as adornments**

**Searching for the Lord who is praised by vishNu I walked for miles through the harsh forest and at the very end, I had a vision of him. He was more handsome than a crore manmathas.**

**He gave me several reassurances that he would wed me in public. However, without understanding that I am proud woman he has now left me languishing!**

**The heroine describes the scene that constantly inhabits her thoughts and sets her desires aflame. She says: The vision of my Lord with a raised foot that looks like a red lotus dancing, with the Ganges flowing out of his matted locks, the moon, and the nectar, swaying, his gaNas dancing along; the auspicious pArvati performing in unison while clearly lost in the music and movement; vishNu and brahmA maintaining rhythm and nandi joining in on his maddaLam to the sorkaTTu 'nangutOm' ; the celestial bard nArada struming his harp and singing along ; and his pristinely pure eyes and earrings swaying to his bodily movements**

**This is constantly in my thoughts, driving me insane with the desire to be united with him**

Erakkam Varadha - new on Shiva - NEW

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Perumal Un Thirunamam

Raga: Sindhubhairavi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This devotional number is in praise of Perumal or Lord Vishnu who appears in the devotees eyes with white camphor adorning his forehead resplendent holding his conch and discuss. In order to behold this sight that is so pleasing to the heart, the devotee wonders what good deeds he has done in his past life. There have been several worthy devotees of the Lord like Shri Andal, Annamacharya, Shri Ramanujar who have been path breaking both in their steadfast devotion as well as their inspired works of Art that poured forth from their own exalting experiences. Art like poetry, literature and music of exemplary depth and beauty. But I am not of their stature to sing your glory but I still will try says the devotee.

Here we present the story of Shri Ramanujacharya who went to his Guru 17 times requesting him to teach the meaning of the Maha Mantra. Each time the Guru refuses, he came back stronger and finally his Guru gives in and teaches him the meaning saying that he will go to hell in case he passes the knowledge on to any one else. Ramanujacharya cannot silence his inner voice and climbs up on to the temple tower and calls out to all people to come and pay heed to his words. He teaches everyone the Maha Mantra so that they may all attain the Lord’s feet not worried about himself going to hell.
When his own Guru comes and questions him, he seeks his pardon and says that he is happy that so many are getting on the path of the Lord and is willing to sacrifice his own self for that cause. Hearing this, the Guru gives in and makes his own son Ramanujacharya’s disciple.

Valli Kanavan - new on Muruga - NEW

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Paras Thillana

Raga: Paras

Tala: Adi

Composer: Pooci Sreenivaasa Aiyyangaar 1860 to 1919

Choreographer: Kalakshetra

This is a fast and lively dance, which traditionally concludes a Bharathanatyam recital. **The thillana is a pure dance or nritta piece. The composer invokes the grace of Goddess Abirami also known as Raja Rajeswari**

Special Item - 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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