Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Ria Mahesh.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Ria'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!

Riais 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.

Bhupalam Pushpanjali

Raga: Bowli

Tala: Adi

Composer: Neela Ramanuja

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 shlokam is in praise of Lord Ganesha who has 16 names. Chanting, reading or hearing his name gives one salvation. He is always invoked at the start of a new endeavor – such as learning something, getting married, entering a new home, or setting off to battle. The Devas also worship Lord Ganesha and by doing so obtain salvation. “O Lord Ganesha, you who are the leader of the Ganas and destroyer of all obstacles, I bow to you.”

Sankeernam Allarippu

Raga: null

Tala: Chapu Sankeerna Nadai

Composer: Shri N G Ravi (contemporary)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This dance is an invocatory item. 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 9 beats or Sankeerna Jathi.

Hamsadhwani Jathiswaram

Raga: Hamsadhwani

Tala: Adi

Composer: Traditional

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

A Jathiswaram is a song made of only swaras (the 7 basic notes) and jathis (complex beats or talas) to which the dancer dances. It is a pure Nrtta piece without any Abhinaya (or facial expression). It is a dance item in which the dancer displays her versatility in elaborate footwork and graceful body movements. The dancer performs several adavus (footwork, basic steps) along with 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. A Jathiswaram is composed of at least one SolluKattu (bundle of musical syllables ) and several Korvai’s. When an adavu is set to a particular Thalam (rhythm) and Kalam (tempo) it becomes a Korvai. In a Jathiswaram, several Korvai’s are strung together as beads, concluding in a Theermanam or Muktaya. A Jathiswaram highlights the melody, rhythm and movement in dance. It evokes the harmony and joy of dance in spectators

Tandai Muzhanga Shabdam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Gurus Dhananjayan - contemporary

Choreographer: Gurus Dhananjayan

The shabdam has both nritta (abstract pure dance) and abinaya (expression and emotion) components. In tonight’s performance, the shabdam is in praise of Lord Muruga, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. The story, from his birth to his blossoming as a young man who woos and marries Valli is depicted.

It starts by describing the Lord as a young baby, who is crawling on his hands and knees, making his ankle bells tinkle and chime.


His mother, Parvathy, sings him a loving lullaby.


Next, he is described as a toddler, who is taking his first steps holding onto his mother’s hands.


She is filled with delight as he says his first words that are as sweet as honey to her ears, and smiles and laughs at her with all his charm.

As he grows up, he is described as the one with a beautiful body, with the light brown hue of the tender mango leaves.


He has jet black eyebrows, wears a vermillion mark on his forehead, and emanates the fragrance of sandalwood.


“The son of Shiva, please come to me.”

“The one who rides on a blue peacock holding a spear in his hand – when can I get a glimpse of you?


When will you come and bless me with your love and fill my heart with bliss?”

Lord Muruga decides to woo Valli, a tribal girl living in the forest.


He comes to her in the garb of an old man who after having had a meal, wants to quench his thirst.


He requests her for water.


As she is pouring the water, he grabs her hand and proposes to her.


She flatly refuses his advances and tells him to leave her alone.


Then Muruga asks his brother Ganesha to come in the form of an elephant.


Valli is very afraid of the elephant and runs and hides behind the old man.


Muruga reveals himself and marries Valli.

In the concluding verse, the smile of the Lord is compared to priceless gems and pearls.


The poet concludes with a reference to Thiruchendoor Muruga who lives in a temple near the seashore and beseeches him to come and bless him.


Shabdham in ragamalika, and misra chapu thalam - composed and choreographed by the dhananjayans.

Charukesi Varnam

Raga: Charukesi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Sri. Lalgudi G Jayaraman 1930-2013

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This item is the centerpiece of a Bharatanatyam recital. The heroine of this Varnam is a Mugda Nayika, one who is inexperienced in love. She had befriended Lord Krishna the hero and is now bewildered that he is acting like he has no idea of her tender feelings towards him. She herself is unable to explain why she is feeling sad and angry at Krishna as he ignores her and argues angrily with him and finally pleads with him to be her close friend again. She is a Virahotkantita nayika with some Khandita silliness typical of her age. She says:


Even now, you have not understood my feelings,

Ah so you act and remain. Is that fair?

How many times, I call out to you and you turn away, don’t you hear me? When you were hungry and disappointed that you did not find any butter, I got you butter and fed you with love, many times, I made you pretty garlands of scented flowers, As we admired the peacock’s dance and its beautiful feather fell from its plume, I did not keep it for myself but gave it to you instead. You took my butter, my flowers and my feather and have now conveniently forgotten all the good times we had together.

How many times before have you practiced this Act? Once when you were a baby, you were playing with mud and when no one was looking you ate it. Mother Yashodha came by and caught you. When she asked you to open your mouth, you did so, and showed her a vision of the whole universe in it. Oh and another time, when your mother was angry with you, she tied you to a stone and asked you to remain there, not realizing how strong you were. The moment she left, you walked away, merrily pulling the heavy stone behind you . As you passed between two Arjun trees, you felled them, releasing the two sons of Kuber from a curse.

Who gave you a heart that does not have any pity in it? Day and night I am pining away thinking only of you, I call out to you in many ways trying to catch your eye, then I lose heart that I am never going to have your companionship again.

Oh beautiful Lord playing on the flute, can you not relieve me of my heart ache?

My inner being fills with the sweet music of your flute

Was all your affection toward me false? My pride and sense of self dissolve when I think of you.

Just as the tidal waves rise on a full moon night and the new crops are happy when it rains, so my heart and body rejoice if I think of you arriving, giving me your heart and holding my hand

Wherever I look, I see you and nothing else. Please do come close to me, the time is right, please have compassion, you are my life, oh ruler of my heart, the whole world rejoices as you play the flute.

Valli Kanavan - NEW






Adi Kondar

Raga: Mayamalavagowla

Tala: Adi

Composer: null

Choreographer: Vijaykumar Srinivasan


Will we not need a thousand eyes to see the wonder of the Lord dancing?

Anupallavi :

The gold-skinned dancer, always reliable, is the Lord who resides in those that seek him through prayer.

Charanam 1:

As he dances in the golden hall in Chidambaram, the ankle bells that adorn his lotus-like feet dance, the string of bells on his feet dance producing a tinkling sound, the tiger-skin that he tore and wore sways and dances, the deer and the battle-axe that he holds in His reddened hands dance, the red-eyed dwarf Muyalagan dances, the Ganges (on Shiva’s head) dances, His matted-locks dance.

Charanam 2:

As he dances in the Golden Hall in Chidambaram, the necklaces of nine-gems dance, the snake that adorns his neck dances with his hood spread, the Kondrai flowers dance, the chariot dances, the Vediyar priests and the three throusand people of Chidambaram dance the Perani and they offer prayers, and the purposeful Kali dances in front of Him.

Charanam 3:

As the lord dances in the golden hall of cidambaram, Ganapati and Kartikeya dance, Indira dances along with Brahma and Vishnu, the sages dance with many Gods, Patanjali who lives in Chidambaram dances, Vyagrahapada dances with Nandi, the incomparable mother Sivakami (Parvati) dances in unison.

Vishamakaara Kannan

Raga: Chensurutti

Tala: Adi

Composer: Oothukaadu Venkatasubbaiyar

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This lively song describes the pranks Krishna plays on the gopikas of Gokul, and how he wins their hearts.

While Krishna and his friends make a human pyramid and steal a pot of butter hanging from the ceiling, the gopika arrives and catches him red handed. She wants to take him to his mother Yashoda, but is unable to lift him up. She then tries to tie him with a rope and pull him, but is not able to.

When the gopika is churning butter, Krishna pleads for more and more butter and is never satisfied. When Krishna throws a tantrum, the gopika accepts a bribe from Krishna and plays with him and enjoys his singing and dancing.

She says “He is blue like the sky, and resides in their hearts”

In the concluding verse, Krishna asks the girl from next door to sing for him and when she says she doesn't know that particular song, he pinches her cheek and laughs at her. The gopika soothes the girl and scolds Krishna but her anger soon melts away and she enjoys dressing him up elaborately.

Amritavarshini Thillana

Raga: Amritavarshini

Tala: Adi

Composer: Kumar Srinivasan and Rakesh Sudheer - contemporary composers

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

The thillana is generally a concluding item in any dance recital. This is, mostly a pure dance piece, with a small verse with meaningful lyrics at the end.

The short verse in this Thillana describes the devotee’s constant longing to see the beautiful face of The Mother Goddess, Amritavarshini, just like the peacocks wait for the first rain, and the bees wait for the flower nectar. The devotee sings and dances to receive the blessings of the Mother Goddess.

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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