Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Leena Shah.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Leena'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!

Leenais 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.

Ganaraj Rangi

Raga: Natta, Darbari Kannada, Bahar

Tala: Adi

Composer: Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar & Shanta Shelke (contemporary) 1937 to present

Choreographer: Smt. M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

We begin the recital with the Pushpanjali an offering of flowers in salutation to God, Guru and Audience.

**The Pushpanjali is composed by Shri NG Ravi and Smt Neela Ramanuja. It includes solfa syllables along with the names of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is known as the god of wisdom, literature and worldly success. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati (Uma). Due to some tragic circumstances, he has the head of an elephant over the body of a child. Lord Shiva blessed the child, Ganesha that he will be the lord of beginning and people will worship him first, before any other God.**

**In this song, the Dancing Ganesha is praised. His bells are jingling as he dances and the sound of it is reaching the heavens. He wears yellow silk robes around his waist and is ever agile to perform brisk dance movements and shines bright in his attractive, bedecked form. Sage Narada is the Singer and Goddess Saraswathi is accompanying on the Veena, Lord Bhrama is wielding the cymbals and Lord Vishnu plays on the drums to which the youthful Lord Ganesha performs. All the Devas are assembled to watch the dance performance. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi are also seated and watch their son - Lord Ganesha - dance with great pride!**

Sita Shabdham

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Misra Chapu

Composer: Dr. Ramanuja

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Shabdham is an item that introduces expressive dance and story telling (abhinaya). This shabdham is about Sita.

When king Janaka’s men were ploughing the fields, they hit a hard object and on investigating it, found a box. When they opened the box, to their surpise they found a baby girl. She was taken to the King and was adopted by him to be his dearest beautiful daughter Seeta.

One day Sita, now a young maiden, was playing ball with her friends. The ball flew out of the palace garden and a handsome prince- Lord Rama - brought it back to her. As he handed it to her, their eyes met.

Meanwhile, King Janaka decided that the time was right for Sita to be given in marriage.

He invited all the powerful kings, including Ravana, to Sita’s swayamvara. He challenged the assesmbled kings to lift and string Lord Siva’s mighty bow, stating that the one who could do so would marry Sita.

After many suitors tried and failed, Lord Rama lifted the bow as if it was a garland of flowers, strung it and broke it into two, causing it to resound like thunder.

All the kings and rishis came together in Mithila to witness the wedding of Rama and Sita. Beautiful Sita exchanges garlands with Rama and weds him.

Dashavataram

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Adi

Composer: Jayadeva (1170-1245)

Choreographer: M. Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The Ashtapadi is a set of 8 verses composed by the legendary devotee poet - Jayadeva. The verses chosen for presentation this evening describe the beautiful avatara forns of Lord Krishna.

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1. The Lord dons the form of the giant fish to save the vedas.
2. When the Mountain Mandara that is churned by the devals and asuras falls into the ocean, he takes on the form of a tortoise and lifts up the mountain on his back
3. When the primal man and woman created by Lord Bhrama have no place to live, he takes on the form of a boar and digs up the earth from the bottom of the ocean
4. When his devotee Prahalada is abused by his father Hiranyakashipu, he emerges from the pillar in half man half lion form and kills him as Narasimha
5. He takes on the form of a dwarf and takes a vow from Maharaja Bali that he would give him three footsteps of land. He then grows into the TriVikrama form and covers the heavens and earth with 2 steps and finally steps on Bali’s head for the third step
6. He takes on the form of Lord Parashurama to protect Bhramanas against the atrocities of the Kshatriyas or the warrior clan
7. He takes on the form of Rama to kill Ravana who wrongfully takes Sita away
8. He takes on the form of Balarama and the River Yamuna is scared because he diverts the river using his plough to water parched lands
9. He takes on the form of Buddha when all rituals become meaningless without true devotion and guides people on to the path of enlightenment
10. He takes on the form of Kalki in Kali yuga and it is signified by the coming of the comet (ill omen). He destroys the world so that new order can form.

The poet Jayadeva invokes the Lord Krishna to bless him and the people who listen to and recite this poem.

Bho Shambho

Raga: Revathi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Dayananda Saraswathi - 1930-2015

Choreographer: M. Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**This song is in praise of the Lord of dance, Lord Nataraja. The Lord who manifest by himself ‘Swayambhu’, Source of Ganges, Shankara, oh merciful lord who redeems me from this ocean of life, samsAra, without gunas, one who is beyond time, past, present and future, truth beyond gunas, beyond all things finite, oh infinite, blissful, wondrous, ever the same lingA, All the sages worship at your feet oh Lord of the world.**

Pag Ghunguroo

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Adi

Composer: Saint Meera Bai (1498–1546/1547)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Meera was a Princess Saint Poetess in ancient India who was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. She was always engaged in the process of making offerings to the Lord forgetting all other chores. In this bhajan, we describe how Meera’s brother – in - law sends a cup of poison for her to drink which she willingly drinks but it has no effect on her. Further, her mother-in-law chides her for not doing her also for forgetting to bring her a glass of water. Everyone around Meera laugh at her, saying that she is crazy. But Meera ignores all this and continues to worship her Lord through music and dance.

Rim Jhim Padam

Raga: Mishra Bahar

Tala: Adi

Composer: Shri Kishmendra Viramitra Divetia

Choreographer: Smt. M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

**In Bharatanatyam, a Padam is an expressive dance which allows the dancer to express a free and vast range of emotion. The nayika or heroine is a simple village girl in Gujarat. Her husband tells her that he has to travel to a distant land for work. Upon asking when he would return, he promises that he would be back when the first rain of monsoon arrives. She is saddened, but cheers up when he promises to bring her back a pair of beautiful earrings. She bids him farewell and goes back to her daily chores involving of, sifting, grinding and pounding grains and spices, patiently awaiting her husband’s return. At last the monsoons arrive, and she is ecstatic like a peacock becoming intoxicated with happiness at seeing the darkening clouds. She dresses herself in a Patola saree, fine jewelry and puts on make-up. When the wait becomes unbearable, she consults a local fortune teller. The spectacled munshi is more interested in her money than telling her fortune but nevertheless predicts that her husband will be home soon. The prediction comes true and the heroine is reunited with her husband and receives the earrings her promised. They both dance to the beats of the drum.
**

Ashtalakshmi Thillana

Raga: null

Tala: null

Composer: null

Choreographer: null

Bhoomi Mangalam

Raga: Revathi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Vedas - Shri Ravi Shankar album "Chants of India"

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Bhoomi mangalam Udaka mangalam
Agni mangalam Vayu mangalam
Gagana mangalam Surya mangalam
Chandra mangalam Jagat Mangalam
Jeeva mangalam Deha mangalam
Mano mangalam Aatma mangalam
Sarvamangalam Bhavatu Bhavatu Bhavatu
Sarvamangalam Bhavatu Bhavatu Bhavatu
Sarvamangalam Bhavatu Bhavatu Bhavatu

May there be tranquillity on earth, on water,
in fire, in the wind,
in the sky, in the sun,
on the moon, on our planet,
in all living beings, in the body,
in the mind and in the spirit.
May that tranquillity be everywhere, and in everyone.

This is a Mantra of Universal Goodwill.. It signifies that may all elements in the Universe be in harmony, goodness, peace and love.

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