Record Particiapation At Nrityanajali
A record 210 dancers took part in the annual Nrityanjali celebrations held at the New England Hindu Temple and helped raise over 4000 $ for the temple. The event was held on Feb 14, 2009 where the dancers made an offering to Lord Nataraja , the God of dance on the auspicious occasion of Shivarathri.
“There are many tales associated with Shivarathri. It is believed that Lord Shiva becoming unconscious after drinking the poison that Vasuki, the snake spit out after the Sagaramanthana (churning of the ocean). It was at this time all the devas and ganas started dancing to wake Lord Shiva and it obviously worked. Nrityanjali during Shivarathri celebrates that moment” said Priest Bhairava Sundaram.
20 dance schools participated in the celebrations. Students of Sridevi Thirumalai, Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Neen Gulhati, Ranjani Saigal, Sunanda Narayanan, Soumya Rajaram, Sailaja Edupati, Sumithra Anand, Vyjayanthi Prasad, Sheetal Dwaraka, Sangita Raghunathan, Thenu Rajan, Snageetha Vijeyasarathy, Kalpana Balachandar, Suja Meyappan, Tanuja Meenakshinathan, Sapna Krishnan, Jothi Raghavan, Jasmine Shah and Veena Telli presented a wide variety of devotional pieces. Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi and Semi Classical devotional numbers made for a delightful mix of presentations that went on for nearly 12 hours. Ranjani Saigal and Jeyanthi Ghatraju coordinated the event and served as MCEEs.
Performances by teachers Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Suja Meyappan and Vyjayanthi Prasad in the Bharatantayam style, by Sailaja in the Kuchipudi style and Mouli Pal in the Odissi were brilliant and served as an inspiration to students. Mesma Belsare cast a spell on the audience with a spectacular rendition of Natanam Adinar that received a standing ovation from the audience. The performance was towards the end of the evening . “It seemed as though Lord Natraja Himself jumped on the stage to dance the Divine Dance” said K.G Narayana as he watched Mesma dance. Narayana was the representative from the YCEP group of the temple.
The much awaited high school senior talent competition featured ten brilliant performers. Arya Palakurthi(Bharatanatyam), Rachel Ferullo (Odissi) and Shweta Athilat (Bharatanatyam) won first , second and third place respectively for their performances.
“We are delighted to see the enthusiastic participation in this event. We are working on a temple expansion so we have a bigger space for such events. We request you to open your hearts and wallets and contribute to the cause” said the temple President, Dr. Kumar Nochur, Smt Ranjani Ramaswamy, one of the founding members of the temple also made a plea for supporting the expansion project.
For the dancers it was a wonderful experience to be at the event. There were a few dancers, including the scholarship winner who were not of Indian origin and many who belonged to non-Hindu faiths. Yet they joined together to dance the dance of Shiva as a testament to the ancient saying “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti – The truth is one the wise refer to it by different names”
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Competitors with the judges and organizers