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Bharatanatyam, The Binding Force Between Society And Ancient Traditions

Havisha Neelamraju
11/20/2019

This year, Amudhasri Dance School had the great honour of hosting the thematic theatre production “NAVASHAKTHI - Empowerment of Women”, under the direction of Smt. Kalaimangai Anbalagan, the founder and artistic director of this eminent fine arts school. The event took place on Sunday, September 8, 2019, at J. Everett Collins Center, 100 Shawsheen Rd, Andover, MA, 01810. It was a three-hour choreographed performance that featured the work of over 100 dancers, and profoundly focused on the empowerment of women and the story of the nine avatars of a powerful goddess. As one of the main goals of this institute is none other than giving back to the community, this event also served as a fundraiser where a grand total of $13,500 (from all the proceeds) was donated to the Genesis Foundation, a non- profit organization located in greater Boston that is dedicated to helping kids affected by genetic disorders.

To begin with, the production kicked off to a great start and primarily revolved around the nine avatars of a powerful goddess and her pursuit to defeat all evil. The performance elegantly displayed the Mummoorthi’s (Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer, and Vishnu the Preserver) all coming together and using their powers in order to create the cosmic, feminine energy known as Shakthi, who would soon set out on her pursuit to eradicate all evil spirits. As the phrase “good over evil” is one of the most basic concepts in Bharatanatyam, each avatar of the powerful deity was exhibited as an iconic and majestic symbol that triumphantly destroyed the atrocious asuras (demons) during each individual dance in this theatrical narration.


Immediately following the concluding scene, a well-handled finale was exhibited, where all of the performers assembled on stage to participate in the ‘flower shower’. This ceremony was truly a spectacular sight, and represented a show of gratitude for the wonderful audience and all of the students’ hard work that was put into making this event a grand success. The overwhelmed audience rose to their feet and erupted into a prolonged applause of two minutes to acclaim the extraordinary performances.


After the main formalities for the evening were completed, the two chief guests, Suryakala Chandrika Jeevananthan and Jonjy Ananth, were invited to the stage to share a few words about the evening as a whole. Suryakala Chandrika Jeevananthan has been the Guru of Smt. Kalaimangai for a very long time. She was extremely proud of her disciple for organizing this production and continuing to perpetuate the divine dance form Bharatanatyam. In order to express her complete and utmost appreciation and support, she awarded Smt. Kalaimangai with the “Natya Prasanna Award” for her unlimited passion and dedication towards this spiritual artform.


Furthermore, Jonjy Ananth, the other chief guest who attended the event, was also mesmerized by the show and relished every moment of it. Through serving as an elected commissioner in the Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he was extremely honored to present Smt. Kalaimangai with a citation from the Governor of Massachusetts. The mention highlighted the powerful message of the production, the tireless preparation of the students, and the charitable cause the school was a part of helping towards. These will undoubtedly serve as two memorable moments that will continue to motivate Amudhasri Dance School to achieve bigger milestones as they embark on their dance journey.


The production would not have been able to achieve the success that it did if it were not for the continued support and assistance of the students, parents, volunteers, and sponsors. It was truly surreal to see a wonderful audience there to support the cause. At the same time, the volunteers put in all of their best efforts to guide the audience to their seats, and assist the dancers backstage in makeup, lighting, costumes, and props. Additionally, the generous sponsorships and involvement of the sponsors in photography, videography, and food allowed the event to run as smoothly as possible.
Everyone’s contributions to the production definitely went a long way into helping kids with genetic disorders and making this event as memorable as possible. In the future, the school hopes to organize more events like this to benefit the community as the act of giving back is essentially what allows the human race to grow as individuals, make a change in the world, and create a history that will remain alive for eternity.



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