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Nritya Nipuna: Shailee Shah


Mesmerizing ! absolutely Entertaining !
Amazing Talent ! Masterpiece solo Performance !

These are some of the expressions by those who were present at an amazing event that happened at the Reading High School’s Performing Arts Center on December 13th 2008. 16 year old Shailee Shah, a Reading Memorial High School (RMHS) Student, performed her Nritya Nipuna which according to the program is the performance of "achieving perfection in the Art of Dancing."  On the scale of a wedding, this "event signifies the debut of the dancer on stage to demonstrate her proficiency in various Indian dance forms... It is n important milestone for the Shishya (student) and Guru (Teacher) achieved after years of vigorous training and commitment. Nritya Nipuna is not only to showcase talent and hard work, but also to gain an understanding and appreciation of Indian culture and traditions." Along with introductions by her parents, Eshani and Chandu Shah, and her twin brother Kushan, many of their friends, Shailee put on an amazing 3 + hour solo performance, complete with gorgeous traditional Indian Dresses.

The movements were elegant and the facial expressions were intense, all combining into a magnificent performance. She had been practicing for fortnights with her Guru (teacher) Smt. Jasmine Shah, for a well deserved performance. The sore legs she had permanently had during the practice session for all relieved in that long three plus hours presentation

Nritya Nipuna is achieving perfection in Art of Dancing. The event signified the debut of the Shailee on stage to demonstrate her proficiency in various dance forms like Bharat Natyam, Manipuri and Folk achieved by her dedication, devotion and determination. It was an important milestone for the Shishya (student) Shailee Shah and Guru (Teacher) Smt. Jasmine Shah.  

Nritya Nipuna is not only to showcase talent and hard work, but also to gain an understanding and appreciation of Indian culture and traditions. With blessings from her Guru, Lord Natraj (Lord of Dance) and all present in the auditorum Shailee presented her solo performances.

It was a wonderful multicultural event which filled the orchestra section of the RMHS Performing Art Center, plus most of the balcony. Logistically, this traditional event brought revenue to the town while benefiting so many of the local residents. Present in the auditorium were also many of the high school students and friends of Shailee and her Twin brother Kushaan Shah. . The celebration was issued with the speech readings of Shailee’s close friends, praising Shailee’s personality and character as well as her dedication to dance.

Present in the audience were reading memorial high school students and friends of the twin brother Kushaan and sister Shailee. An entertaining audio visual was presented by friends which also included blessings by their grandparents from India featuring the most popular humorist Tarak Mehta (grandfather). Invitees came from all over New England region, New York, New Jersey and also from Washington DC. Presence of retired Army Col. From Pentagon Bill Murray and Mrs. Susan Murray was specially recognized. Blessings and compliments were also offered by Mr. Bill Enslow, the dean of Drama Dept. at RMHS and Ms. Killian , the music director.

The highlight of the event was a contemporary dance choreographed Guru Smt. Jasmine Shah titled KAUN JAANE KEM AAJE – A Gujarati song written by Shailee’s dad and accomplished Gujarati poet-playwright Chandu Shah and sung by Shailee in her melodious voice. This dance was a contemprary fusion of different forms of dancing.

Sweet Sixteen is viewed by many adolescents girls as an important milestone. The song described the feelings of a girl coming of age. She feels pretty and witty and bright! She feels Oh! so charming.  She feels stunning and entrancing, Feels like running and dancing for joy. She is modest and pure, Polite and mature And out of her mind!  All these are new emotions she has never felt before.

The Event:

The event was kicked off by a 10 minute video depicting Shailee’s dance recitals and stage performances starting from the age of 2 years. The clips also offered an insight in to Shailee’s talent as an actor performing Lead characters in musicals produced by Reading High school Drama Club and Five Star Theatre.

Shailee Shah performed following dances representing various classical Indian dance forms of which 3000 year old dance style Bharat Natyam was predominant. Pushpanjali - began by a prayer to Lord Ganesha (Vignaharta) and Lord Nataraj (Lord the Shiva - the lord of Dance). Shailee offered flowers (Pushpa) and prayers (Anjali) to remove all obstacles. With this dance she also asked for good wishes and blessings from the audience. This was followed by Jatiswaram - a more difficult item of pure dance (nritta) in which she weaved several patterns on a basic musical composition. Indeed, the word jatiswaram denotes a musical composition which follows the rules of the swaram (musical scales) and jati (unit of time). Next was Shiv Stuti TANDAV- This piece depicted the powerful Tandava dance by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is also known as Nataraj, the Lord or King of Dance (Raj = King). The dance was a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy - creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion. Another form of TANDAV performed was Anand Tandav ( Tandav of Bliss) : Ganesha (THE ELEPHANT GOD) who is the sun of Lord Shiva and Parvati is one of the most-worshipped divinities in India. Veneration of Ganesha is considered complementary with other forms of the divine. Thillana was performed next. Thillana is a dance of exuberant joy and intricate rhythmic variations set to lilting music in which the dancer abandons herself purely to the joys of rhythm and movement. The Thillana is an item of pure dance The dance ended with the dancer surrendering herself to God. Presented with a unique make up and costume presenting half man half woman was a dance called Ardhanarishwar. This dance highlighted the being of Shiv and Shakti) which are inseparable aspects of the one Reality.

After a short intermission, the performance continued with MANIPURI: This dance form was originally only performed in temples and continues to form an integral part of the religious and social fabric of the city of Manipur in India. Manipuri dance, whether folk, classical or modern, is devotional in nature. The traditional Manipuri dance was combined with another song - Aa Nabh Jhukyu te Kanji - The song described how the name Radha and Krishna are synonymous with each other. Winding down the Nritya Nipuna started with folk dance - GOFF – Shailee Shah performed this folk dance with her dancer friends. The Goff is a folk dance performed by the Peasants after the harvest as a manifestation of their delight and felicity. The dance is performed with colorful cords, in a technique by which the dancers by dancing create braids and other patterns.
The NRITYA NIPUNA (Graduation in Indian classical dance forms) ended with MANGALAM. Mangalam concludes the performance by the dancer expressing her gratitude towards the LORD, her teacher, her family and friends. She is humbled by the support and blessings given to her by the audience.

About the Shishya (Student) - Shailee Shah

Shailee has been learning dancing/training since the age of 7. Even as a child Shailee has always demonstrated her dancing skills at family functions and cultural events. Under her GURU'S guidance Shailee has enhanced her skills and performed at various community events. (GURJAR, IAGB, HINDU TEMPLE, JSNE and Peabody Essex Museum)

Shailee loves singing and has participated in Chorus competitions at District level that combined with her dance grace has given her great opportunities in School drama club. She has acted in lead roles in plays/musicals at summer camps and had has important parts in broadway musicals at RMHS. She has also participated in State Dancing Competitions mainly " Boogie-Woogie". (An Indian TV Reality Dance Show) and FOGANA(National Gujarati Garba-Raas competition)

She is currently a Junior at Reading High and is also very active in Band/Color Guard. After graduation she plans to pursue a career in Performing Arts. Shailee's other interests include listening to music and community service.

Guru - Smt. Jasmine Shah
Jasmine Shah is an accomplished dancer of Bharat Natyam and Manipuri.  She has extensive knowledge of folk dances of India and her versitality has benefited all her students who have performed at various events and received accolodes. She and her students have been part of many a fund raisers and charitable events.

As a dancer and chreographer she has achieved an eminent status not only amongst the India Community of New England but has also earned the designation of Roaster Artist of the New England Council on Arts. She is also serving as a Counselor for the New Hampshire Arts Council and has done several dance camps for them over the years.

She founded the Aangikam Dance Academy in 1982. Since than she has trained over a 1000 students. As a teacher she is warm and caring. Her patience, enthusiasum and innovative style of teaching has endeared her to all her students and parents. Thus, for her contribution to Indian Culture she was nominated for the prestigious title of "Women of the Year'' for the New England Area and was a Runner-up. Her innovative ideas and contemprary chreography has made this Nritya Nipuna a challenging and ecstatic experience for Shailee.

25+ friends and volunteers helped make the event an evening to remember; including an elaborate dinner afterwards. Ms. Meeta Shah of Westford managed the Invites while Ms. Rashmi Shah of acton deserves a special mention for designing and executing on stage and off stage/lobby decoration working with Mr. and Mrs. Gosalia of Prasang decorators to bring the ambience of the event in its true perspective.

Ovations !  Bravo ! Spellbinding ! were the compliments pouring in at the end. Overall, the dance recital had it’s very intense moments and very happy moments. The hard work was truly evident when the final performance of the dances were revealed on stage, and the recital was concluded with a large cake cutting ceremony. It was a splendid day for Shailee Shah.

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