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Arangetram - Swadhi Pillai

Amrita Saigal

Swadhi Pillai , student of Smt. Anu Sharma performed her Arangetram on September 6th at the Joseph P. Keefe technical school in Framingham, MA. She is the daughter of Dr. Omprakash and Veena Pillai, who are leading members of the New England Kerala Community. Her poised and graceful presentation was a tribute to all the hard work she had put in to make the performance happen.

The show commenced with a Pushpanjali, an offering of flowers followed by Allarippu and Jathiswaram. The most challenging item in a Bharatanatyam recital is the Varnam. Varnam literally means “color”. Swadhi performed the popular Nattakurinji Varnam, “Swami Nan Undan Adimai”, a composition of Papanasam Shivan. It was in praise of Lord Shiva, the God of Dance. In this piece a mixture of Jathis, Swarams and Abhinaya was displayed. Bhakti is the main theme of this item and Swadhi was able to bring out the idea of total surrender to the Lord.

The second half began with the Keertanams Durge Durge in Ragam Revathi. This Keertanam, depicted Durga as the warrior Goddess carrying the bow and arrow as her weapon. This was followed by Govardhana Giridhara, a Narayana Theertha Tarangam. Here the poet describes Lord Krishna as the one who lifted the mountain Govardhana on his little finger to save the residents of Vridanvana from torrential rain. The Swathi Thirunal Padam Aliveni in Ragam Kurinji allowed Swadhi to give full scope to Abhinaya. The recital ended with the popular Paras thillana and a Mangalam.

A large part of the credit for the success of the performance goes to the outstanding orchestra. The singer Shri Babu Parameswaran awed the audience with his wonderful rendition of the various pieces. Accompanying Babu on the Mridangam was Shri T. Vishwanathan. Shri M.S Kannan provided violin accompaniment, Shri V.K Raman played the flute. Veena accompaniment was provided by Smt. Durga Krishnan and Smt. Anu Sharma did the Nattuvangam for the evening. Each one of these artists was superb. Shri. Vishwanthan stole the show by performing a very intricate and interesting Mridangam solo in which he involved the entire audience.

One other important piece that added to the success of the Arangetram was the unusual colors and styles of Swadhi costumes. As a dancer, it was a pleasure to see the outcome of many years of hardwork. I appreciate the dedication and effort that Swadhi put into this show. We hope to see more of her dance in the future and wish her the very best of luck.

(Amrita Saigal is a sophomore at Burlington High School in Burlington, MA. She is has received training in Bharatanatyam and performed her Arangetram in 2003. )

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