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Arangetram: Shrvani Balaji

Madhumita Kaushik
02/26/2014

Bharatanatyam is a traditional Indian art form consisting of music, drama, and detailed body movements. Created in South India, this dance style incorporates both physical skill, spiritual enlightenment and pleasure.

Devoted to the art form from the young age of six, Shrvani has built up an expertise that was showcased in her passionate rendering of ten complicated, entrancing dance items in her Arangetram. These dances vary in length and meaning, but have an overarching theme of praise, dramatic storytelling, and emotion. For example, Madhura Madhura Venu Geetham, a piece an admiration of Lord Krishna was delivered with as much reverent fervor as the Jaya Jaya Shambho,  a piece of devotion to Lord Shiva, which was portrayed with joy and freshness of appeal. Equally if not more impressive were how Shrvani managed to raise her level even more with the two highly regarded pieces of  Sri Chakra Raja and the Vaaranamayirum. The first item in the Adi Thalam narrates the prayers of a disciple of Goddess Shakthi while he implores her to show him truth in its entirety. The second piece, Vaaranamayirum, also composed in the Adi Thalam has another dimension of devotion. This dance encompasses the dreams of a devotee to become one with Sri Krishna and join him in marriage. To do justice to this item, Shrvani's performance was touching as she brought out the Bhakti rasa.

Shrvani Balaji's inspirational teacher, Neha Parikh, is widely renowned for her accomplishments in choreography and numerous performances at Indian celebrations. Starting as a dance teacher at Nalanda dance research center, Neha has gone on to establish the Chidambaram Nrityakala Academy. Her school carries on traditional dance form by encouraging students to fully embrace Bharatnatyam and its captivating qualities. The debutante herself has been under the guidance of Neha Parikh for six years. In addition to participating in countless Indian festivities, Shrvani has claimed first place in New England Malayalee Association and Boston Sargam competitions. She has also demonstrated a passion for Indian culture as a student participating in Balavihar and Balagokulam.

Electing to perform Arangetram in itself is a level of maturity. At a young age of 14, Shrvani has had to build up the physical and mental strength to perform this performance of feats. Clearly, she has tirelessly overcome the obstacles a Bharatnatyam dancer, or any dancer, must face in order to build up the repertoire that is needed. Finally, through pursuing her dance career and working relentlessly to achieve her Arangetram, Shrvani has not only gained self-belief and determination, but she has also illustrated her lasting love for Bharatanatyam.



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