Welcome to an evening of exciting dance performance by Vaahini 2019.

On behalf of From within Dance Academy and Vaahini'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!

Vaahiniis 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. **

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.

Rasikapriya Jathiswaram

Raga: Rasikapriya

Tala: Adi

Composer: Sri. Lalgudi G Jayaraman 1930-2013

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

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.

Thillai Ambalam Shabdam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Thanjavur Arunachalam Pillai

Choreographer: Kalakshetra

Shabdam is an item where a poem is interpreted. This shabdham is in praise of lord Nataraja, the lord of dance.

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The lovelorn nAyikA asks: ' When will naTarAja who dances in the temple/hall at cidambaram, realize in his heart my boundless love for him? Oh friend, will he then come here?'

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The nAyikA wonders: 'Why is it that the vision of his amazing dance so deeply rooted in my heart causing so much torture and longing for him? He performs the dance continually in the limitless skies that are beyond my imagination. Oh friend why does my spirit languish so?'

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She continues to wonder: 'Will the god that I beheld in my dreams ever become my very own husband/Lord? Will the desire of this insignificant and foolish woman ever ascend the heart of the one who dances in the golden hall of Chidambaram? Oh friend, will my grieving heart be reassured?'

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She beseeches: 'As the cymbals and the drums resound to SorkaTTu, will ardhnArISvara, the lord who rules my heart, come to me with eager anticipation? Please say some comforting words to me and tell me that my astrological signs foretell this.'

Shankarabharana Varnam

Raga: Shankarabharam

Tala: Adi

Composer: K.N. Dandayudapani Pillai (1921-1974)

Choreographer: null

The varnam is the main piece in a Bharatanatyam repertoire. It showcases the best of pure dance (nritta) and emotion (abhinaya). It is divided into two halves the poorvanga (first half) and uttaranga (second half). In this varnam, the primary rasa is Bhakthi Shringara, or Devotional love. The heroine, or nayika, is described as Virahotkantita Nayika - the lady separated from her beloved. In this particular Varnam the heroine is talking to her best friend, her sakhi, about the one she loves. She says,

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“ O Sakhi, why are you being so stubborn?

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Please ask my lord to come to me, as this is the right time.”

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“Day and night, my heart is being tormented,

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I hate even the sight of milk and food.”

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“My Lord is the one who holds the discus and the conch in his hands, and lives in the Thirumalai hills.”

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“He removes all our troubles, and is dearer to me than life itself”

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“Even if the whole world comes to an end, I will never forget him.

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“I believe strongly **_i_**n my heart that he will shower his blessings on me”

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“ Seeking unending happiness, I constantly sing his praises.

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All this fervent dancing for his grace is making my body wilt.

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Is it alright for you to continue to be stubborn**_?_** Please go and ask him.”

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In the second half of the varnam, the heroine goes on to say

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Oh friend, there is no secret or shame in my feelings. In fact, this is essential.

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“Please ask him to grant me at least the privilege of serving him”

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The heroine then gives examples of situations where the Lord has come when beckoned by his devotees.

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“He is the one who accepted the garland that ANDAL had originally adorned herself with,

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and granted her wish and became one with her.

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“Trapped by a crocodile, the elephant GAJENDRA called out to my Lord, who appeared there instantly and rescued him.

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Please bring him to me with all the pomp and glory that are his due.”

Gopalaka Pahimam Padam

Raga: Bhoopalam

Tala: Misrachapu

Composer: Maharaja Swati Tirunal (1813-1846)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

Oh gOpAlaka ! I submit myself unto thy feet, protect me forever. All sins are emancipated by your lotus feet which are worshipped by Indra and others. Extolled by all as virtuous, you astonished your mother, who was angry that you have eaten mud, by showing her the whole universe, including mountains and oceans, inside of your graceful lotus-like mouth. Oh consort of SrI lakshmi, you removed the pride of brahmA, who is born of lotus: you bestowed your classmate kuCela with boundless wealth and prosperity. You are matchless and have the king-eagle garuDa as your vehicle. Oh lord, your speech is like the nectar of the lotus. sArasanAbha, lord of the world, Ocean of mercy, your excel cupid in beauty. You repose on the serpent-king and destroyed the demon mura. In this composition, we show Lord Krishna as the protector - protector of the cows from the poisonous snake Kaliya, Protector of the Gopis when they prayed for their clothes back after a bath in river Yamuna, protector of Radha
as she pleads to be home before it gets dark.

Sri Valli Devasenaapathe

Raga: Natabhairavi

Tala: Adi

Composer: Papanasam Sivan (1890-1973)

Choreographer: M Subhashini Vijay Santhanam

This Keerthanam is in praise of Lord Muruga. It describes him as the husband of Valli and Devasena, as the one whom the whole world praises, as the one with strong powerful arms to take on all the evil doers. We always pray upon you - son of Lord Shiva, who rides on a peacock, giver of boons and ocean of compassion who establishes order in the world.

Arabhi Manam

Raga: Ragamalika

Tala: Adi

Composer: Tanangambadi Pancanaada Aiyar

Choreographer: Smt Rajalakshmi

Vasu presents the next number in praise of Shakti, the female Goddess. This song has been composed in a manner such that each of the sentences is sung in a different Raga or musical scale. Further, the names of the Ragas are incorporated in each line. 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 - Aarabhi, Anandabhairavi, Kalyani, Hamsadhwani, Saranga, Sama, Mohanam, Lalitha, Darbar, Bhairavi, PurviKalyani – shortened to Puri, Kamalamanohari. They are the names of the Ragas.

We end each verse praying to each of the three Sthala Devis – Kanchi Kamakshi, Madurai Meenakshi and Kasi Vishalakshi.

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.

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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