Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Kritika 2020.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Kritika'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!

Kritikais 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.

Gambeera Nattai Mallari - 8 Count

Raga: Ghambeera Nattai

Tala: Adi

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**Mallari is a piece of music generally played when accompanying the Lord’s procession through the streets adjacent to the temple. In this invocation, we invoke the Lord to take his seat on the stage so that we may have a successful performance. **

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.

Tridevi Shabdam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Neela Ramanuja - contemporary

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This is a dance item with both nritta and abhinaya elements in which abhinaya features prominently. The dancer introduces abhinaya (expression) for the first time in her repertoire of items for the performance. The intensity of emotion or abhinaya depicted increase gradually through the performance of this item. Shabdams are usually composed in Raaga Maalika and Misrachapu taalam. The Shabdam is usually devotional, in praise of a dominant theme like Gods, Godesses, their pastimes, or Kings. Shabdams are also referred to as Yasogitams ( literally, singing the praises of). The lyrics are set to simple sahityam (lyrics) sprinkled with easy korvais.

This Shabdam is an ode to the Godesses of Strength, Wealth and Knowledge. We present the TriDevi shabdam in praise of the Trinity of Goddesses \- Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The lyrics for each Goddess is set to a particular Raaga.

The first two verses offer salutations to Durga and seek her blessings, whose energies pervade the entire Universe, who is the protector of the Universe and who is the great Yogini and the embodiment of Knowledge and eternal bliss.

The next verse is in praise of Lakshmi, the daughter of the King of the Ocean of Milk (Nectar), the source of light (knowledge) for the Universe, the one fortunate to have the good Graces of Brahma, Indra and Shiva, one who is resident in the three Worlds and the one who is beloved of Mukunda (Lord Narayana)

The last two verses seek the blessings of Saraswathi, the lotus seated goddess adorned in white with a Veena in her hands and to whom Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara pray. The devotee prays to seek her help in destroying ignorance.

Durga, is one of the six Gods , Goddesses , in our exploratory theme in the margam. Durga or Devi is the combined Shakti ( or energy ) of the Trinity ( Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva). She is the slayer of Ignorance ( demons), especially sent to Earth to slay the demon Mahishasura. Her victory over evil is celebrated during the Vijayadashami festival of ten days.

The followers of Durga are of the Sakta devotional tradition. Spiritually, she is represented as Maya, the illusory material force or reflection of the Supreme Consciousness as expounded by shri Adi Shankara in his Advaita philosophy.

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.

Arupadai Veedu

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Adi

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**Arupadai Veedu are the six most sacred abodes (battle camps) of Lord Muruga. Muruga is one of the six important gods of Hinduism, according to one interpretation, the exploratory theme of our margam. Kaumaram is the ancient sub-religion of the followers of Muruga. Muruga is also known as Karthikeya, Skanda, Vadivela and Guha. This song captures the essence of the battle legends and lores (sthala purana) of the six abodes. Tirupparakundram , near Madurai is the place where Muruga marries Devasena (Deviyanai), Indira’s daughter after killing the demon Tarakasura. Tiruchendur, where he prays to Shiva and defeats Soorapadman ( along with Tarakasura and SImhamukhan). Palani, near Kodaikanal where Muruga (Dhandayudhapani) clad in loin cloth and holding a shaft (dandam) is in the form of a yogi. Swamimalai, near Kumbakonam where Muruga as Guru, preaches the meaning of the pranava mantram ( AuM) to his father Shiva as his disciple. Thiruthani, near Kanchipuram , where Muruga spends his time peacefully with his wife Valli, after waging the wars with the demons. Pazhamudhircholai, near Madurai, where Muruga tests his devotee poetess Avvaiyar while resting under a tree, by asking her if she wants a “suttapazham “ (roasted fruit). Perplexed, she asks for a non-roasted fruit. When the boy (Muruga) shakes the tree, and she picks up the fallen fruit and blows the dust off, Muruga asks if the fruit is too warm ? Realizing the paradox, she recognizes the boy as Muruga.**

Maadu Meikkum Kavadi Chindu

Raga: Kavadi Chinduu

Tala: Adi

Composer: Oothukadu Venkatakavi (c. 1700-1765)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This padam is a conversation between Mother Yashodha and her little cowherd son Krishna. Krishna wants to go out and play in the hot sun under the pretext of grazing the cows. Yashodha tries to keep him home by offering him milk and butter and by warning him that thieves would attack him on the banks of river Yamuna. She warns him of the wild animals on the Govardhana hill and of his father scolding her if she let him out. But the child is adamant and comes back with clever answers (don't want the milk, he would beat up the thieves, he would win over the animals and that she should tell his dad that he is on the next street playing ball with his friends) and wins her over. She finally packs him his lunch and he is on his way

Madhuvanthi Thillana

Raga: Madhuvanthi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Sri. Lalgudi G Jayaraman 1930-2013

Choreographer: M. Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**This is a fast and lively dance, which traditionally concludes a Bharathanatyam recital. It is in praise of Lord Krishna.
**

**It is accompanied by a short verse that says ―I thought of you everyday and yearned for you. My love, you are the one who stole my heart. I will never be apart from you again.‖ **

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