Beginning Prayer

Raagam: Mohanam
This is a traditional prayer and entry piece where the dancer requests the blessings of Lord Nataraj, Ganesha and Saraswati. She pays her obeisance to the Ashtadikpalas, or the Guardians of the eight directions, the Guru, and the audience.

Pushpanjali - "Jhaim Jhaim"

Raagam and Taalam: RaagaTaalamaalika
Composer: Dr. M. BalaMuraliKrishna
All Bharathanatyam recitals begin customarily with an invocation dance where the dancer offers prayers and flowers to the Gods and Mother Earth. The Gods are requested to bless her, and Mother Earth is asked for forgiveness for dancing on her. The dancer combines vigorous movements with eloquent descriptions of the Gods she is invoking blessings from. The offering of prayers to the different Gods symbolizes the offering of the body, mind and soul to God's presence.


Raagam: Naatai
Taalam: Chatusram
Alarippu is a traditional warm-up dance when the dancer prepares her body and mind for the rigor of the rest of the performance. The dancer slowly builds up momentum by commencing the item with eye and neck movements and then progressing to footwork, which then increases in speed. In this piece today, the dancer begins with a small prayer to Ganesha (the destroyer of obstacles).


Raagam: Bilahiri
Taalam: Aadi
This piece is a very contemporary piece for dance. Originally composed as an easy song to teach young classical musicians, this has been innovatively choreographed for dance. The piece is in Telugu and describes little Krishna as a playmate. The dancer describes little Krishna as a handsome boy with great qualities. By praising Krishna and his achievements, beauty and skills, she hopes to entice him to come and play with her. The piece is delicately interwoven with descriptive poetry depicted by facial expressions and equally eloquent footwork to complement them. Swarajathi will be performed today in-lieu of the traditional Jatiswaram.


Raagam: Ragamaalika
Taalam: Misra Chapu
Shabdam is a traditional Bharathanatyam item that combines both footwork and facial expressions. There is usually a story to be told, which is broken into different parts. A traditional section called Jathi, which is pure footwork, precedes each part. This Shabdam has been choreographed to a beat of 7, which makes the footwork even more complicated. The story is about Lord Kartikeya, Ganesha's brother. The item describes Velava or Kartikeya as the spear-bearer and evil-destroyer. He is the brother of Ganesha and the one worshipped by so many. He falls in love with the daughter of the hunter, Valli, and approaches her to marry him. He uses pity, fear and love to woo her.

Varnam - "Kanna"

Raagam: Raagamaalika
Taalam: Aadi
Composer: Smt. Lalitha (Saraswati Gana Nilayam)
Varnam is the most elaborate and the most beautiful and important piece in Bharathanatyam. It is a combination of all aspects of Bharathanatyam such as Nritta, Nritya, and Natya, interwoven with complex rhythmic patterns and rich melody of the music. In this item, the dancer praises the glory of Lord Krishna and describes him as her beautiful playmate. The first half shows her describing him and his stories as a young boy and youth on the banks of Yamuna. The second half shows her describing him and praising his skills as a king, warrior and husband. This item is a true testament to the dancer's ability as a dancer, as it challenges her on all levels.

Shiva Padam - "Naagendra Haaraya"

Raagam: Raagamaalikaa
Taalam: Kandam
Composer: Shri Aadi Shankaracharya
The great Aadi Shankaracharya was a worshipper of Lord Shiva or Nataraj (also known as the Lord of this dance form). Originally composed as a sloka, in this, Shiva takes the form of a dancer when he is happy and also when he is angry. In this dance, the dancer praises the various qualities of Shiva especially that of a dancer. He is simple and saintly, is the husband of Parvati and the Protector of Ganga. His bells echo throughout the universe. The item has been choreographed by Sukanya to show the pure Nritta aspect of the art form along with some serious Karnaas (gymnastic poses). Anita will perform this piece with great pride over her mastery of the 'karnaas'.

Biswabina Robe

Composer: Rabindranath Tagore In the song "Biswabina Robe", Tagore writes about how the music of the universe fills us with awe and pleasure and how nature dances to varying, beautiful tunes as the seasons change. This dance was choreographed by Smt. Thankamani Kutty.

Durga Padam - "Haigiri Nandini"

Raagam: Revathy
Taalam: Kandam
Composer: Aadi Shankaracharya
In some cultures in India, Goddess Durga, also known as Amba, is worshipped as the primary deity. She is considered stronger than her other half, Lord Shiva. She, who protects this world and is omnipresent, is also the destroyer of evil and the protector of all good. She is beautiful and kind and depicted as the daughter of the mountains and the sister of Vishnu. She is the other half of Shiva and is called the miracle worker of this world. Both rhythm and Abhinaya are highlights of this piece and the different speeds in this dance actually allow the item to crescendo.

Krishna Padam - "Asai Mugam"

Raagam: Jonpuri
Taalam: Aadi
Composer: Subramaniya Bharathiyar
In this traditional Padam, composed by Bharathiyar, the favorite South Indian poet, the dancer enacts the role of Radha who is love smitten by Krishna. She complains to her friend that she has forgotten the essence of Krishna even though she has not forgotten his form or face. She is shocked at how she could have let this happen and poetically describes to her friend that her folly is like the bee forgetting the flower or the flower forgetting the sun. How can she go on without the true picture of her beloved one in her heart? Choreographed by Sukanya, it will be rendered by Anita with the hope of highlighting both desire and pining of a woman for her beloved.


Raagam: Brindavani
Taalam: Aadi
Thillana is the grand finale, and the ultimate challenge of pure dance exposition for both the dancer as well as the choreographer. This dance is composed of sculpturesque poses intermixed with intricate rhythmic patterns, and executed with grace and elegance. This unique instrumental piece has been choreographed by Sukanya to bring out the beauty of 'Nritta'.


Raagam: Madhyamaavati
Taalam: Misra Chaapu
Lyrics: Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna
In this concluding dance the artist expresses her gratitude to the Gods, Gurus and the audience for the success of the program, and invokes blessings for the future.

Thank You

I would like to thank everyone in the audience for attending my Arangetram. The never ending encouragement I received from my parents, brother, extended family members, and friends of all ages has helped me to fulfill my goal today. I would like to thank all my teachers for passing their knowledge onto me and for the discipline they instilled in me. The love and support I received from my family and teachers helped me to stay focused and determined. I would like to extend a special thank you to my Guru, Sukanya-Auntie, for teaching me this beautiful art form over the last ten years. This exposed me to my Indian heritage, and taught me to appreciate many different art forms. Thank you!