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Arangetram - Anwita Kasar

Press Release

Anwita Kasar, raises funds for Sanmvedana through her Arangetram 

Anwita Kasar, a rising junior at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School achieved the first milestone of her journey of dance on Saturday August 7, 2021, at Sri. Chinmaya Maruti Temple in Andover, MA. Beautifully dressed up Anwita in traditional Bharat Natyam costumes mesmerized the audience by her 2 ½ hr. graceful solo performances choreographed by her guru Jyothi Raghavan in various segments during her Arangetram.

The term Bharat Natyam is a compound of two words. Bharata and Natyam. The word Bharata consists on ‘bha’-ra’-‘ta’ which means bhava (feelings, emotions), raga (melody) and tala (rhythm). The term Natyam is a Sanskrit word for “dance”. Bharatnatyam is an ancient classical dance form that was nourished in the temple of South India. There are 2 aspects to this dance - nritya, a pure dance element and abhinaya, a story telling element where meaning is conveyed thru facial expressions. It is through abhinaya dancer communicates to the audience. Arangetram is a word derived from ‘Arangam’ (stage) and ‘Etram’ (ascending). This is the first performance that a student does after completing whole ‘margam’ or a repertoire. This is the first level of achievement in the learning process.

On the opening of the curtains, the stage lightened up with Marathi Abhang, “Aji Soniyacha Dinu” melodiously sung by Neha Panke, a sophomore undergraduate student at UMass Lowell. Anwita started off her Arangetram with a Pushpanjali followed by Natesha Kavuthuvam in raga Gambheera Nattai and Hamsadwani set to Taal Adi.

Next segment was Alarippu which is an invocation piece in Bharat Natyam recital wherein the dancer dedicates her spirit and sanctifies the performance space. Anwita presented this piece in raga Ragamalika and Chathusram talam.

Alarippu followed by Jathiswaram, a pure dance piece with intricate footwork set to Swara patterns or patterns of musical notes. Anwita did commendable job while performing this second number in Bharat Natyam Margam.

‘Varnam’ was the central and the most elaborate item of Arangetram. The dancer performs Varnam in praise of Lord Natraja- the god of dance. Varnam is the most challenging piece both for musicians and dancer as the dancer exhibits her prowess in the intricate foot work and graceful body movements and abhinaya- the miming or interpretative enactment and the singer tries voice modulations while exploring crescendos and climaxes within raga.  Anwita excelled with deep understanding of movements and facial expressions while performing this dance piece.

‘Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body’ I remembered this Martha Graham’s quote when I witnessed Anwita’s soulful performances on Marathi songs sung and accompanied by very talented artists of New England area. After a short intermission, she performed on two Marathi songs; Ganaraj rangi nachato, Bhakti geet composed by Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar in rag Bahar set to taal Bhajani. This Bhakti Geet describes Lord Ganesha’s dancing skills and portrays him as a great dancer. The second song was Vrundavani venu composed by Saint Bhanudas in rag Bhimpalas ser to taal Eka.

The next item was Mamavathu Sri Saraswathi in raga Hindolam. Anwita’s role-played gopi who complains how Krishna kanhaiyya being naughty and describes the pranks he pulls on the girls of the neighborhood. Thillana was the cumulative piece of the program composed by Madurai Krishna Iyengar in rag Brindavani Saranga. Anwita gave full justice to the composition by her sculpturesque poses and footwork with graceful body movements.

The program concluded with Mangalam wherein Anwita thank God, musicians, and the audience. Mahathi Athreya, Ashwini Ranade, Neha Panke as vocalists and accompanists, Hari Shanmugam on mridangam, Durga Krishnan on veena, Santosh Late on table, Sagar Tayde on harmonium, and Kiran Kumar on violin these praiseworthy artists supported Anwita’s enthralling performances throughout the program. The emcee, Manasa Jayanthi, and Shubhada Kulkarni, kept the audience engaged throughout the program.   

Each captivating performance reflected Anwita’s passion for the dance, tireless practices of nine years since she joined Nrityanjali School of Dance and immense training of her guru Jyothi Raghavan that engaged the audience until the end of arangetram. Anwita’s guru Jyothi Raghavan, the disciple of Late Sri Swamimalai Rajarathinam Pillai, is a dancer, teacher, choreographer who has carved out a niche for herself in the world of Bharatha Natyam. She founded Nrityanjali academy of Indian performing arts in 1977 and since then she has trained hundreds of students in the school over these forty-four years. Many of them have performed their arangetrams under her guidance. Nrityanjali prides itself as an educational organization where the students are taught the discipline of practice and striving to do their best.

While speaking about Anwita as a student, Jyothi ji shared a fond memory of Anwita’s first day of at Nrityanjali. She told that when she asked Anwita to present any dance if she knows already, Anwita sang and danced on the song at the same time. Jyothi ji further said that it was a unique quality she saw in Anwita at such a young age. Anwita dedicatedly pursued her passion of dance and throughout the years, she has danced in many temples and Nrityanjali productions, one of which commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Nrityanjali school. In addition to dance, Anwita is also a tennis player and has been playing it since she was five years old, and she has participated in numerous USTA tournaments for around five years. Anwita is also on her school tennis team which won Massachusetts State Championship 2021. Anwita is also a part of her school’s HOSA club, Research club, and Computer Science club. This past year, Anwita was a national qualifier from the HOSA - Future Health Professionals State Conference.

Besides being a trained classical dancer, and tennis champion Anwita has many other laudable qualities. She knows how to take civic responsibilities and very keen about giving back to the community through volunteering for community organizations. Like her elder brother Atharva, she decided to fundraise while asking family and friends to donate instead of giving her gifts on her arangetram. She raised funds for Sanmvedana, a non-profit school for children with Autism in Nagpur, MH, India. School is committed to providing an individualized education plan (IEP) for each child. The program's main emphasis is on the child’s strengths, the child’s interest and making education as functional and age appropriate as possible. For more information please visit  www.sanmvedana.org

At the end, Anwita’s proud parents, Nilima and Suhas Kasar, thanked everyone who helped in making this event memorable. Anwita thanked her guru, grand-parents, the audience, parents, brother and all her friends who encouraged her to achieve this milestone.

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