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Arangetram: Sameera Manjrekar

Sanjana Krishna

Arangetram: Sameera Manjrekar

Sameera Manjrekar has learned dance under the guidance of her guru Smt. Jayshree Bala Rajamani since the age of 5, and her passion for dance clearly showed during her arangetram in the Sri Lakshmi Temple. Sameera presented each of her dances with a smile, powerful form and beautiful expressions.

Sameera started by offering flowers to Lord Nataraja. Her first piece was a Kutvam in praise of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswathi, Goddess Mahalakshmi and Lord Nataraja. This piece was immediately followed by the Alarippu. Sameera’s starting pieces demonstrated her ability to dance gracefully while maintaining crisp hand movements and footwork.

Sameera continued with an energetic Jathiswaram, filled with complex footwork timed perfectly to the swaram beats. In the Shabdam, Sameera began to storytell; she portrayed a young girl who pleads to her friend to bring Lord Shiva to her. She wrapped up her first half with a Varnam in praise of Goddess Meenakshi. Sameera brought the stories to life with her attention to detail and showed her endurance as a dancer in this Varnam. Sameera vividly depicted the central story of the Goddess destroying the demon Mahisha in battle.

In the second half, Sameera began with the piece Aadikondar in praise of Lord Shiva’s dancing that caused his necklaces, serpents and even his flowers to oscillate; in this piece, Sameera’s poses showed her ability to balance elegantly. She continued with the piece Namo Anjanee. Sameera depicted Hanuman as he lifts the entire Sanjeevani mountain to help heal his friend Lakshman, brother of Ram.

The third item in Sameera’s second half was Murali Shyam; in this piece, Sameera played the role of a Nayika who was irritated by the control Krishna’s flute had over him. Sameera’s last expressive piece detailed the innocence of Lord Ganesha and was choreographed to the melodies of the song Sur Niragas Ho. Sameera concluded her strong second half and arangetram with the Thillana in praise of Goddess Karumari Amman and the Mangalam to honor the elders, the audience, gurus and God.

Throughout her arangetram, Sameera captivated her audience and brought them into her dance and into the stories with her strong dance form and her ability to emote.

"Throughout my dance journey, I have come to appreciate the beauty of Bharatanatyam through its intricate adavus and captivating expressions. I have learned the importance of commitment and what I am truly passionate about. The last twelve years led me to my arangetram, an experience that I will never forget. Without Jayshree Didi, my dance journey and arangetram experience would not have been possible. I am so grateful to have her as my guru and to continue this dance journey with her. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead!" - Sameera Manjrekar.

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