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Arangetram: Jaswi Dogiparthi

Nikita Minocha

Classical dancers in the New England area usually know summer as ‘Arangetram Season’. July 25th, 2015 marked a special day in the life of one dancer. It was the day when Jaswi Dogiparthi completed her Bharatanatyam Arangetram.

Bharatanatyam was established in ancient Southern India and since then, has been passed down over thousands of years. It embodies the rich culture of India and is a treasured art form. An Arangetram is a debut performance that represents a graduation of dance. The journey displays one’s dedication, passion, and commitment. The process is challenging in all ways—mentally, emotionally, and physically. But, it is extremely worth it and helps us grow into better people. Jaswi has transformed as a person and as a dancer over the years. Each Arangetram is a unique story of human perseverance, patience, and hard work as the dancers aspire to achieve a milestone in their journey.

The ‘Varnam’ is the most elaborate item in a Margam. It combines the three elements of Bharatanatyam— pure dance, expressive dance, and story telling. Jaswi’s Varnam was in praise of Lord Nataraja. Jaswi showed artistry, stamina, and an understanding of ‘bhakthi’ in her dancing. Choreographed by Madurai R. Muralidharan, the Varnam was an interesting challenge for Jaswi, her Guru, and the musicians.

Jaswi’s ‘Muralidhara Kauthuvam’ was also a visual treat. This Kauthuvam was a hymn of devotion in praise of Lord Krishna. The composition was first rendered in rhythm and then sung. The choreography in the item was very unique and included little intricate details, which added a new dance perspective. Additionally, Jaswi received a first place award in 2012 for this Kauthuvam amongst the New England Malayalee Association.

Jaswi performed each item with finesse but I would like to acknowledge the two padhams in the second half of the program. Directly after intermission, Jaswi performed ‘Bhavayami Raghuramam’. This padham was from the great Ramayana epic. It took us through the story of Sita’s admiration for the golden deer and concluded with her abduction in the forest by Raavana. Jaswi’s expressions showed much maturity in this dance and she immersed herself into the different characters. The second padham was ‘Vishamakara Kanan’. The item portrayed the naughty and teasing side of Lord Krishna’s childhood.  The composition included playful scenes and got a laugh from the audience. Jaswi later explained how her five-year old brother, Lalit, inspired her dance.

The musicians for the event brought the event to life and created a welcoming atmosphere. Vocalist Sri Sudev Warrier astonished us with his singing, while Sri Ramani Thiagarajan’s flute playing was equally magical. And on the mridangam, Sri Sudhaman Subramanian engaged the audience with his beats. Guru Sheethal Dwaraka did a phenomenal honing Jaswi for her Arangetram. The lovely stage arrangement and the decorations in the lobby simply added to the brilliance of the event.

Jaswi was spectacular in her performance and has evolved into a strong dancer. I am glad that she had so much support from her family, friends, and the entire dance community. We are all very proud of her accomplishments. She looked beautiful on that stage and did her very best in each piece. Her hard work definitely paid off and I hope she continues to pursue Bharatanatyam.

Congratulations to Sheethal Auntie and the Dogiparthi family for a successful Arangetram!

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