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With A Broken Arm Akshaya Wins!

Ranjani Saigal
03/02/2009

Akshaya Krishnaswamy, student of Sridevi Thirumalai walked into the senior classical dance competition with her hand in a cast and walked out with the first prize of $1000!  Her brilliant presentation of Pahimam Shri Rajarajeshwari held the judges and the audience spellbound. Using only one hand for her dance, Akshaya clearly demonstrated that faith in Lord Shiva can help overcome seemingly difficult obstacles.  

Over 150 dancers took part in the annual Nrityanjali event held on March 1 2009 at the Shri Lakshmi Temple which helps raise funds for the temple while making an offering of dance to Lord Nataraja. This is the second year that the temple has held a competition to provide a scholarship to college bound seniors. Seven participants took part in the competition. Amrita Mangalat, student of Sunanda Narayanan came in second and Prerna Purohit, student of Sridevi Thirumalai took the third place. Other competitors included Keertana Gyanapradeepan (student of Sunanda Narayanan) Sabrina Tobarran and Jahnavi Deshpande (students of Sridevi Thirumalai) and Munnu Kuriakose (student of Meena Subramanium).  “The task of judging this show was extremely difficult” said Jayshree Bala Rajamani, who served as a judge along with Jeyanthi Ghatraju and Mari Shakti. The judges presented some valuable tips to the performers.Shri Lakshmi Temple, like the temples of India has become a key element in providing suppport for classical dance and music and the dance competition was carrying this support further.

In the non-competitive section students of Ranjani Saigal, Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Jayashree Bala Rajamani, Neena Gulhati, Hema Iyengar, Sumitra Anand, Sujatha Meyappan, Sangeeta Vijey, Sangita Raghunathan, Jyothi Raghavan, Vyjayanthi Prasad, Thenu Ranjan, Meena Subramanium, Sunanda Narayanan and Sridevi Thirumalai entertained the audience with fabulous renditions of a variety of classical dance items for nearly 8 hours.In addition senior dancers Hema Iyengar, Mari Shakti, Jayashree Bala Rajamani and Susheela Bambani presented delightful pieces. The grand finale was a dance by the temple priest, Tejas who danced at the request of the audience. When he danced Bho Shambo one could feel the presence of Shiva in the temple.

The event ended with an Aarthi by the priests Krishna Bhattar and Tejas. For classical dance aficionados, it was a day to remember. Chairman of the temple, Smt Usha Vellaiappan and Kumar Nochur, the president lauded the efforts of the participants and teachers. The temple hopes to build an auditorium within its premises in the near future so that the students will have a better space to perform. 

For me as an organizer and a dance teacher it was thrilling to watch the excellent presentations and to note the high level of performance even amongst the tiny tots! The day’s events made it clear that New England’s Classical dance teachers have much to be proud of.



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Dance competition participants and judges.












































Akshaya Krishnaswamy

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