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Monday, August 16, 2004


Bharat Natyam Arangetram

Bharathanatyam is one of the oldest classical dance forms of India that originated in the southern parts of the country. Like most other Indian dance forms it is a blend of nrtta - the rhythmic elements, nritya - the combination of rhythm with expression and natya - the dramatic element. Bharathanatyam is also an acronym for Bhava (expression), Raga (melody) and Tala (rhythm). The dance themes are usually devotional or based on Hindu mythology and the music is in classical Carnatic style.

The Arangetram is a key milestone in a dancer’s training. It literally means ‘to ascend the stage’. The dancer completes basic training, and is presented to the audience by the teacher. She performs her first solo margam or full Bharathanatyam repertoire. This effectively states that she is now not merely an amateur, but a budding professional.

The first Arangetram I attended was of my cousin in Mumbai in 2003. Then I was fortunate enough to attend another one in Las Vegas, of Sneha Parikh on August 15, 2004. Sneha had Bharat natayam lessons for 8 years and had her guru was Ms. Asha Gopal.

One thing that I have noticed about desis in America is that we have the two extremes. We either find 'confused desis' or the ones that have immense love for our culture. I guess humans realise the value of something only if they have to pay an arm & a leg for it or if they have the fear of losing it. Given the population ratio, I think we have more people interested in classical dance and music here than in India. We also have more shows organised by SPICMACAY all over the world.

Just a passing thought - Why do people follow religious ceremonies so fervently?
Wasn't religion introduced as a code of conduct to make us better individuals and the world a better place to live?

The essence of most of the religions is Humility & Non-violence. I would rather pray on my knees in my closet rather than doing a great ceremony in a temple/ altar and boast about it to everyone. I guess I will start a fresh topic on religion

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