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Arangetram Of Amudha Pazhanisamy

Nirmala Garimella

June 7th, 2003 - a special and momentous day for Amudha Pazhanisamy, student of Gurus – Ranjani Saigal of Eastern Rhythms and Kausalya Srinivisan, of the Sunartaka School of dance based in Chennai, India.

While the earth outside rumbled with a storm and lashing rains, inside the Keefe auditorium, this young girl of 13 years was performing her Arangetram, the solo dance debut in Bharathanatyam with tremendous passion and dedication.

That there are many youngsters in New England committed to Bharathanatyam bodes well for the future of this traditional art form. Amudha, a talented dancer made her gurus proud that evening with an impeccable and scintillating performance that mesmerized the audience and drew a lot of applause and admiration. Her performance in her Arangetram was an impressive show of talent and skill, revealing an innate sense of aesthetics and a fine example of rigorous training and single-minded effort.

The evening was well attended and started with a traditional invocation dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Vinayak Stuti followed by Panchamurtyanjali, the invocatory dance where Amudha paid obeisance to Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga and Lord Nataraja, Goddess Sivakam Sundari and finally Chandikeshwara, a devotee of Nataraja. The second piece, Ganesha Pancharatnam, of Adi sankaracharya followed next.

My personal favorite that totally enraptured me with its enticing and lilting music and a rapturous mix of evocative expression was a Keertanam in Ragam Mayamalagowla, 'Lakshmi Ra ve Ma Intike'. Here, Amudha’s presence on stage was powerful and playful in both form and expression where the dancer invites the lotus eyed goddess Lakshmi into the house with flowers like the Parijata, sandal wood paste, and food offerings.

Varnam, is the most challenging item in a Bharatanatyam recital that displays the expertise of the dancer. Here the choice was a pada varnam, a composition of Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman. It was an arduous and lengthy piece giving the dancer abundant scope for displaying her rhythmic talents along with rich and varied abhinaya. Amudha performed well in all these aspects as the lovesick maiden imploring lord Krishna and coaxing him to draw his attention to her.

Dr Jaya Pillai who was the Chief Guest of the evening had all praise for this budding talent. In her appreciative words she hoped that “Amudha will continue in the fine tradition of her ancestral artistic family and pursue this art form vigorously”. She remarked how hard work and talent can bring a student's aspiration come true.

Aananda Natamaduvar Thillai, a compostion of Neelakanda Sivan glorified the cosmic dance of Shiva. This was followed by Maalai Pozhudinil, a Kalki composition where a nayaki narrates her dream to her friend about Lord Muruga. The next piece Chinna Chiru Killeye was another of my favorites where the dancer portrays a mother bonding with her child and Amudha’s expressions in the entire dance were expressive and appealing. The audience was totally enraptured in the final moments of the dance where the dancer mother sings a lullaby to put her child to sleep and while slowly moving out of the stage with her child in her sleeping arms rushes back to hush the audience who have broke out in applause. It was a classic moment!

Thillana or the final dance of pure joy or nritta was a composition of Dr Balamurali Krishna and was a wonderful culmination to the evening’s performance.

Amudha Pazanisamy is a natural. In her dancing debut she displayed a maturity beyond her years as a dancer excelling in the classical dance form.

A notable mention must be made of the accompanying artists, Sri Mysore Srinath who lent a fine voice as the vocalist, Vidwan Srihari Rangaswami, who displayed mastery as a percussionist on the mridangam, Sri Narasimhamurthy with magical notes on the flute. Smt. Lakshmi Venkataraman played the veena and Sri Matthew Allen was on the Tambura. Radhika Chandramohan, a close friend introduced the artists and the dance items to the audience.

Amudha shares some thoughts on her Arangetram: “I started practicing seriously since last summer and in the past month or so, I have been practicing nearly three times a week for two to three hours. When I was backstage on the final day, I was extremely nervous but once I put my foot on stage, the energy flowed into me like a rush and I was totally oblivious to any fears. From the first item onwards till the end it was exciting. The continuous practice helped, and even though we changed some choreography in the Varnam a few weeks before, it was exhilarating. I always wished to perform my arangetram as flawlessly as possible. In fact, it is such an enjoyable experience, if given a choice I would love to do it again. I am so thankful to my gurus and my parents for their support and encouragement”

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