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Rangapravesha: Ira Padhye

Pallavi Nagesha

Perfect rhythm, footwork that magically follows that perfect rhythm, gestures that complement those graceful moves, and the perfect mood. This is a classic recipe of the perfect Rangapravesha storm. I was fortunate to not only witness this storm but chase it for a while and then be surrounded by it as it unfolded on stage. Ira Padhye, a student of Poornima Risbud, performed her debut Solo Dance on August 30th at the Canton High School Auditorium.

She began her performance with "Ganaraja Rangee Naachato", a song describing Lord Ganesha as he dances with the whole world watching him in awe. This traditional Marathi invocation to Lord Ganesha was followed with the Pushpanjali. I was amazed at the ease with which she breezed through the entire performance. Her strength and her fluid movements glued me to my seat. After the Allaripu and the Jathiswara, she performed the Varnam. She pealed back the many layers of Valli’s emotions with the same grace and ease that her feet moved to.

In the second half of the show, resplendent in a red and white dress, Ira dazzled the audience by revealing her true passion. Whether she was Rajeshwari, Lord Shiva, Meera, Krishna, or Drupadi, her movements and expressions effortlessly led us through each story. The frenzy of her performance peaked with the Thillana, which once again was effortless and picture perfect.

The audience favorite was the Lavani. This is a traditional Maharashtrian folk dance, in which the dancer, wearing a nine-yard sari, performs a sensual and captivating dance. The “dholak” provides a fast paced rhythm to the swirling and twirling of the beautifully clad dancer. Thus the name “Lavani”, which in Marathi means beauty. These songs are mostly romantic ballads and true to its form have a myriad of emotions that the dancer has to convey through both movement and expression. Ira smoothly transitioned into another realm of art and portrayed just as much passion and energy as she did to her Bharatanatyam performance.

As a fellow student at Rasrang, I have seen this young lady mature both intellectually and artistically. I followed her evolution through the grueling rehearsals in preparation for the event and am so proud of everything she has achieved. I am certain that she will keep exhibiting the same measure of zeal to her dance as she has done for the 10 years that culminated in this performance. Poornima should be heartily congratulated for such a triumphant maiden Rangapravesha as a dance teacher. We look forward to more of these.

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