Dance Arangetram - Susruthi Rajnala
When a studious, focused, overachieving dancer collides with diligent, cooperative, caring teacher, there are endless possibilities. This is the case of Susruthi Rajanala’s Bharatanatyam Arangetram. Earlier this year, on 22nd August 2009, Susruthi’s true talent was recognized by all that turned up at Medfield High School auditorium. In a harmonious blend of compassion and determination, this was a truly magical experience for everyone. This 4 hour performance swept the crowd off their feet, as they rose to a standing applause. Doing 10 pieces, 6 of which were around 20 minutes long, and one massive 45 minute piece, this whole arangetram process will definitely be a life time experience for Susruthi known dearly as Sruthi to friends & family. Both Sruthi and her dynamic teacher, Mrs. Ranjani Saigal, have made this a wonderful occasion for all of us to remember!
During this 4 hour performance Sruthi did a total of 10 tall tales about the fables of Indian religion and gods. Each of these pieces showcased a specific aspect of gods, which were narrated using expressions, actions, and appearances. The first of the 10 items was Bhoomanjali which is an invocatory piece where in the dancer glorifies mother earth, praises her virtues, and requests forgiveness for stamping on her. The next piece was Pari Pari Nee Padame, which is on Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati and remover of obstacles, followed by Sogasuga Mrridanga Taalamu, in which the dancer is worried if she herself is pious enough to please Lord Rama. This piece illustrates the nine emotions - love, valor, mirth, fear, disgust, compassion, wonder, anger, and tranquility. Next is the 45 minute Varnam, in praise of Lord Srinivasa which culminates by dancer asking if one is even capable of expressing his infinite greatness. Sruthi’s movements were crisp and expressions sharp in every item performed.
After the half-hour intermission following first 2 hours of very energetic performance, the second half of arangetram commenced with Yar Adinar, in which the dancer praises Lord Shiva for his dancing abilities stating how no one could ever dance like him, and how no one ever will. After this begins Madhura Nagarilo, my favorite piece, in which Sruthi truly got into the character of a Gopika trying to plead and shy away from Lord Krishna, who is ever intent on teasing the Gopikas by stealing their curd and pulling their hair. Even as annoyed as the gopikas are, Krishna charms them with the magic of his flute. Following this is Kanchadalayathakshi, an item in praise of Goddess Kamakshi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. This was followed by Tarangam, performed in Kuchipudi style. This dance item is on Krishna’s childhood when he dances on seven headed snake Kalinga to humble him. This piece ended with Sruthi’s remarkable performance on a brass plate which pleased everyone present at the occasion. Later was Hanuman Chalisa, a piece on Lord Hanuman, the monkey god who is known for his valor, love for his master. Hanuman Chalisa is a very popular prayer recited by Hindus to invoke the god of protection and security. The astonishing four hour saga concluded that day with Ksheerabdhi Kanyakaku and Pandit Ravi Shankar’s Mangalam. The ceremony ended with a scrumptious dinner for all guests and went into history as a testimony of hard work, dedication and perseverance.
This event is the culmination of 10 years of journey to master an ancient dance form for both Sruthi and her parents. Sruthi’s friends and family, relatives, and classmates all came together to make this event very special. Orchestra comprised of Sri. B.S Anand, Sri. Venkat Subramanian, Sri. T.V Muruganandam, and Sri. V.K. Raman made a memorable impression on audience. Without them being there, the music for the arangatram would have been the same. Lastly, but in truth most important was the chief guest at arangatram, Dr. Kevin O’Malley, Sruthi’s principal for the last 4 years. He’s the one who has seen her brighten, blossom, and bloom at the Ben Franklin Charter School. After graciously taking out time from his schedule, his presence only made the night more exceptional!
When doing an arengatram as such, there needs to be a determined student as well as a cooperative teacher. Even Sruthi agrees, there is no way she could have executed this ancient art form with such perfection, without her guru, Ranjani Saigal. Both an inspiration and teacher to all her students, Mrs.Ranjani Saigal makes dance come alive. After getting the best training from some of India’s top gurus, she has founded the Eastern Rhythms School of Dance. Many of her students have received prestigious awards. In addition to many accolades, Mrs. Ranjani Saigal is also the recipient of Traditional Arts Apprentice award from the Massachusetts and Connecticut Cultural Council. Along with teaching dance, Ranjani is very socially involved in many groups and organizations including IAGB, ISE, MITHAS, and the India Center at UMass Dartmouth. An engineer by profession and artist by heart, she works at MIT and enjoys a harmonious blend of science and arts.
I can not end with this without saying a few things about the student, my friend, Sruthi. Ever since I have known Sruthi, I was amazed at her incredible talent. Along with her character, respect, and appreciation for our culture, Sruthi has achieved extreme academic respect from everyone, and has earned numerous intellectual awards. Her 2 time second place medals in the AATF National French Contest and her attendance at John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth show her level of determination and insistence to get where she is. After taking a series of vigorous tests last year she was accepted into Noble and Greenough School. As well as succeeding in the classroom, Sruthi’s extracurricular activities include her extensive work with violin in addition to Bharatanatyam. Still, she does not stop there, Sruthi actively volunteers at the Medway Homeless Shelter and the Cradles to Crayons Program. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, poems, swimming, and loves to spend time with her friends and family. I take this opportunity to congratulate Sruthi on her incredible achievement and wish her the best in future endeavors!
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