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Shiva Shakthi - The Union Of Consciousness And Energy - A Thematic Dance Presentation By Kolam Academy Of Dance

Ramya Srinivas

Springing into summer is about the time when most dance and music schools are bubbling with excitement. That is the time when most of these schools conduct their annual dance shows before the commencement of the summer vacation. However this time around, we were facing an unprecedented situation due to COVID-19. Suddenly we were in this new world where social distancing is the new norm for life. Under these circumstances, the Kolam family indeed came up with a stupendous idea of going all virtual for their annual dance show! This was indeed a super impressive idea to give the students a sense of accomplishment given these difficult times. 

On June 27, 2020 the students of Kolam Academy of Dance put up a spectacular virtual dance show. The artistic director of Kolam Academy, Guru Smt. Sujatha Meyyappan along with her students presented a thematic Bharatanatyam presentation “Shiva Shakthi - The Divine Union of Consciousness and Energy”. They provided a Zoom pass to the audience and event moderators securely admitted the folks to view this glorious show. They live streamed the performances via YouTube Live. 

It was indeed a significant day for the students of the Kolam academy as they eagerly anticipated to showcase their talent to their proud parents, Guru and other Rasikas online.

In spite of being a virtual show, the dancers adorned their costumes, make-up and jewelry fabulously to give a fitting performance for their dance pieces with much grandeur. 

Shiva Shakthi - The Divine Union of Consciousness and Energy, was an awe-inspiring thematic presentation whereby songs on the eternal dancers - Shiva and Parvathi were performed. This was an apt theme marking the auspicious day of Aani Thirumanjanam. Guru , Smt Sujatha Meyyappan started the show with a grand welcome address greeting everyone and introducing the theme to the audience. They also showcased all the senior students ready for their arangetram, inspiring all the younger students in the school. 

A significant noteworthy point was their noble cause for the presentation that day. All Kolam dancers pledged their support and the proceeds of the show to the cause - " Dignity Matters". "Dignity Matters" is a non-profit organization that collects, purchases and supplies feminine hygiene products to women and girls who are homeless or disadvantaged, in order to help them stay healthy, regain self-confidence, and live with basic dignity. They encouraged everyone to support the cause and contribute to this heartwarming organization, indeed very thoughtful and compassionate of them to do so! Embracing the current social distancing guidelines, Kolam Academy dancers performed virtually and raised  $2000 to support "Dignity Matters" - is a commendable achievement during the ongoing pandemic. Big congratulations to all the dancers of KOlam Academy of Dance and Guru Smt. Suja Meyyappan. 

The program started with Ganesha Stuthi by the youngest dancers fo Kolam Academy of Dance. The next song Nrutha Ganapathiye in ragam Gambeera Nattai set to Adi Talam portrayed students of different levels and experience. They did a wonderful job being the junior students of the school.

This was followed by Ganesha vandhanam and then Ganesha pancharathnam on Lord Ganesha, Nataraja Kavithuvam in ragam Kambhoji was a magnificent piece to watch. The dance captured swift movements to depict Thillai Nataraja as a cosmic dancer.

Next, the Shiva Sthuthi , Anandha Nadamaduvar Thillai in ragam Purvi Kalyani was gracefully performed by the girls. Followed by this item was the Anandha Thandavam and then Adal Vallon.

Before each item was performed we saw a slide displaying the song name, ragam, thalam and the dancers. This was informative to the audience in-order to educate themselves about the next performance.

The songs were neatly introduced by fellow students who acted as hosts in-between the items. 

Maha Tirupura Sundari composed by Sri Madurai R Muralidharan was performed by the senior students danced in perfect coordination with power packed movements and fierce expressions. The dance on Mahakali was a true treat to the eyes. Dancers emoting the Kaali in various dance forms was well articulated. The grand costume and gracefulness of the dancers added to the success of this performance in ragam Simhendra Madhyamam. One could not tell if they were performing from their own homes at different locations and not missing a beat, such was their synchronization! 

Shiva Shakthi was a special performance rendered by the 2020 arangetram girls. They did a fabulous job to the song with their charming dance moves. All the 2020 planned arangetram students received this wonderful opportunity to showcase their talent. This was appreciable for the girls since they had to postpone their arangetrams unfortunately to 2021 due to COVID-19. 

Of course, they saved the best for the last!! The Shakthi Kavithuvam, set to ragam Vasantha in a rare thalam Sankeerna Matyam was performed by our very own Guru. Smt Sujatha Meyyappan!

This was one kind of a performance where Suja danced elegantly amidst lush green trees. Her outdoor performance enthralled the audience and we count ourselves lucky to have witnessed such a delightful and exquisite performance!

Her expressions were marvelous as she danced gracefully to the powerful song composed by none other than Sri Madurai R Muralidharan . 

Overall it was a well delivered annual dance show with very vibrant and disciplined students. There were no interruptions or time lag during the course of the program, very well organized virtually. 

For the audience, it was a visual treat to see lovely performances from tiny tots to senior students. The song choices for the evening’s dance were credible. The effort that Smt Sujatha Meyyappan has put forth in preparing the children to perform for a virtual event like this must be greatly applauded. It is not an easy task to coordinate and pull off such an event virtually without any technical glitches! The YouTube live streaming was a great idea without compromising on audio and video quality. 

The program ended with a thank you note from Guru Smt. Sujatha Meyyappan on Zoom and we got a glimpse of all the dancers with their families.                                                                             

We will look forward to many more presentations from the Kolam family in years to come.

Kudos to the organizers and volunteers!!

Participating Dancers:
                                                                                                                      Aanya Challuri, Aarna Mahadevan, Avni Nair, Deepthi Bharath, Divya Bashyam, Harini Jeyaraman, Laasya Gaddam, Mrithulaa Chandu, Nilawi Venkat, Nityashree Arul-kumaran, Rachana Srinivasan, Radhana Srinivasan, Rebecca John, Ria Patel, Saanvi Palarapu, Sanjana Sundaram, Viba Balasubramanian, Bhavya Aeron, Chetana Yella, Maanya Patel, Shakthi Balakrishnan, Simran Patel, Siri Tudi, Tara Ramani, Anika Mittal, Anusha Sambangi, Janani Shanmugam, Shrreya Narayanakumar, Abinayya Appusamy, Lakshana Raghav, Mrithulaa Premchanth, Sameera Jacob, Smirithi Srinath, Srinidhi Satish, Srushti Mandera, Divya Vijayakumar, Oviya Inian, Shriyaa Anadakumar, Tithi Patel, Srishti Srinath, Lashmirenuga Ganeshbabu, Medha Bashyam, Mahitha Yerabothu, Raika Kamalaraj, Sandra Jacob, Shreya Ambekar, Sree Vaishnavi Bachiraju, Sunthriiwi Venkat, Zaira Kamalaraj, Adarsha Ramesh, Adhithi Venkatesan, Aparna Shanmugam, Sadhvi Sreeram, Solai Alagappan, Srinithi Raj, Sruthi Ramesh, Ananya Venkatesan, Shilpa Narayanan, Shuruthe Raju, Adhithi Venkatesan, Abi Uthayakumar, Dhakshinya Thangavel, Janette Jerusal, Kaviya Vijayakumar, Nanditha Prashanth, Roshini Uthayakumar.

Videography credit - Kolam Families

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