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BU Dheem Show 'Nirbhaya: Empowerment Through Dance

Parveen Minocha

Jao Rani yaad Rakhengey yeh krutagna Bharatwasi,

yeh tera balidaan jagavega Swatantrata avinasi,

hovey chup itihaas, lagey sachchai ko chahey phansi,

ho madmaati vijay, mitaa dey golon sey chahey Jhansi.

Tera Smarak tu hi hogi, tu khud amit nishaani thi,

Bundeley Harbolon key munh hamney suni kahani thi,

Khoob ladi mardani woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi.

Jhansi-Ki-Rani came alive on Mar 30th at the BU Dheem Show ‘Nirbhaya - Empowerment through Dance’. Prerana Patil, student of Guru Ranjani Saigal, delivered an intense BharatNatyam piece based on the iconic poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. It really gave the audience goose bumps as Prerana brought out the emotions of India’s freedom struggle and the story of the courageous queen, Lakshmi bai. This was one of the pieces, from a mesmerizing evening put together by Boston University’s premier classical dance team, ‘Dheem’.

The evening was kicked-off with the energy of the  newest members of BU Dheem team. The piece began with paying respect to the Hindu God of War, Lord Muruga and transitioned into Indian classical music with a modern spin on Bharatanatyam, Kathak, and Odissi dance forms.

The next piece was ‘Jatayu Moksha’, depicting the battle between Ravana and Jatayu during abduction of Sita. It was soulfully performed by Ashya Singh, student of Guru Ranjani Saigal. Swathi Jaisankar performed another Bharatanatyam piece entitled Aananda Koothanin. This Ananda Thandavam is also known as Lord Nataraja’s Dance of Bliss. In it, the entire universe rejoices at the sight of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi’s celestial dance. Swathi was most graceful as she depicted both Shiva and Parvathi’s majestic dance.

As the evening rolled by, Varnica Bajaj and Vidisha Nerurkar enthralled the audience with their Kathak piece showing sides of a woman that are in constant conflict with each other. Their superb synchronization and rhythmic moves were totally enjoyable.

Nikita Minocha recited a poem ‘Durga’ written by her close friend, Astha Agarwal. This poem was inspired by the Hindu tradition of worshipping pre-pubescent girls (kanyas) as a manifestation of the purity of the goddess Durga who represents strength, motherhood and the victory of good over evil.

Keeping up with theme of the show, Vidya Akavoor performed a  padam, Shakti Mahadevi, which described Devi in her various forms. Mahadevi is described as the Great Goddess or goddess that is the sum of all other goddesses. Once again, a tremendous performance. Krithi Gopalan performed ‘Shakthi Boothu’, choreographed by Sridevi Ajai Thirumalai, a renowned guru and choreographer based in the greater Boston area. Continuing on BharatNatyam repertoire, Nidhi Pillai, disciple of eminent Guru Ms. Ranjani Saigal, performed ‘Bho Shambo’, a beautiful Bharatanatyam dance dedicated to the magnificent Lord of Dance – Natraja an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

The audience were introduced to the Odissi dance ‘Battu’, ancient classical piece performed by Navya Jain and Ritika Singh. It was a piece full of rhythm and enthusiasm. Spoorthi Davala performed Hamsanandhi Thillana, composed by Guru Mudarai R. Muralidharan, where the dancer executes pure nrita or dance. Spoorthi also showcased a number of Jathis while balancing on the edges of a brass plate, a traditional aspect of the Kuchipudi style, leaving the audience in awe.

Shruthi Rengarajan, Emily Ghosh, and Pooja Kalapurakkel’s group Nayika, presented: Mulan, the girl who saved China. This was a very creative and original piece, doing full justice to the story of Mulan, and recognizing all the empowered women in the world who fight daily battles.

Before we realized, we were at the last item of the evening. It was a grand finale by the BU Dheem team - a dance item representing a sense of freedom through the carefree and high-spirited nature of the music and choreography. The performance’s choreography compiled all of the classical forms with a modern twist.

The entire program was very well presented by Biraaj Mahajan, the EMCEE of the evening. Kudos to the entire crew of BU Dheem for a beautiful and nostalgic show. Proud to see the younger generation staying connected with their cultural roots all the while forging their way ahead in modern times.

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