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Arangetram: Muvva Vangapalli

Sangita Raghunathan

July 6, 2014 was a day that had a feast in store for a lot of dance lovers in the form of Muvva Vangapalli’s Bharatanatyam Arangetram at the Rodger’s Performing Arts Center at North Andover, MA. Muvva  has been learning this dance form under the able guidance of Guru Sujatha Meyyappan for the past  7 years. Her interest in the art form and the tireless hours that were spent on practicing for the arangetram were evident in her execution of the dance numbers.

The Arangetram was presented in 2 halves with a short snack break between the halves. The 1st half opened with a vibrant Pushpanjali and a Shlokam in Ragam Aarabhi , Adi talam composed by Dr. Balamuralikrishna. Her entrance was full of vigor and enthusiasm.  This was followed by Sadaksharam, a composition of Sri Madurai Muralidharan in Shanmukhapriya and Rupakam talam in praise of Lord Muruga. This fast paced item was a test of Muvva’s stamina with fast jathis and scintillating foot work. Sujatha’s nattuvangam to this piece was very commendable as it involved very complicated Jathis. Muvva did complete justice to this piece. This was followed by a Jathiswaram in Ragam Vachaspathi, a composition of Tanjore Quartet in Rupakam talam. This was well executed. Following this was the Margam’s center piece, Varnam in Ragamalika composed by Sri Muralidharan in Adi talam which was in praise of Lord Krishna. Muvva depicted several excerpts from Mahabharata which was presented aesthetically.  Sujatha’s crisp rendering of Jathis added synergy to Muvva’s energetic performance.

The 2nd half of the performance started off with the beautiful Padham Shankara Sri Giri – a composition by Maharaja Swathi Thirunaal in Ragam Hamsanandi & Adi Talam. The item started with a mellow virutham and accelerated slowly to the fast pace that we see in Shiva dances. The energy in the dance was exuberant. This was followed by the great poet Subrahmanya Bharathi’s song based on Rain. Muvva portrayed different moods displayed during the rainy day. She took the audience through the emotions of the excitement at the first drops of rain, to the fear that sets in when the harmless rain turns into a ferocious hurricane. The item was very well choreographed and the music was very catchy.

Annamacharya’s composition – “Brahmam Okkate” in Ragam Bouli & Adi talam was presented energetically. The mix of folk movements and the increased rhythm at the end of the song added some foot tapping moments for the audience. Muvva concluded her dance recital with the popular Thillana in Ragam Kadanakuthuhalam composed by Dr Balamurali Krishna and “Aigiri Nandini” as Mangalam.

What stood out at the recital were the following: Muvva’s energy level which never seemed to diminish from start to finish; the choice of dances which were fast paced and kept the audience in rapt attention and enjoyment; the notes of address by friends and noted personalities at the end of the show which did not break the flow of the program; the Masters of ceremony that announced the items both in English and in Telugu (with proper pronunciations that were not anglicized);  The highly talented orchestra members, Sri Uma Shankar Balakrishnan on vocal, Sri Ganesan Gajendran on Mridangam, Sri Pathanjali Chittoor on flute and Sri M.S.Kannan on violin lent a strong and extremely melodious support while Guru Sujatha Meyyappan’s strong nattuvangam added to and enhanced the orchestra.

The recital was followed by dinner and it was heartening to see the New England dance community present in full attendance supporting a fellow dance teacher in seeing her student through an important phase of her dance career. Overall, it was a very enjoyable evening and Muvva did a commendable job in her debut solo performance. Here’s wishing her the very best in her dance career to make a mark and spread her wings in taking this ancient traditional art form to the next level.

(Photo Credit : Jeyakumar Sathyamoorthy )

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