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Arangetram: Saumita Rajeevan

Niveda Baskaran

To ascend any Bharatnatyam stage, one must have not only talent and skill, but also poise, soul, and an undeterred passion for the art. And that is precisely the ideal that Saumita Rajeevan reflected in her Bharatnatyam Arangetram on July 3, 2010 at the Keefe Technical High School in Framingham, MA. Saumita, a student of the Lasya School of Dance, performed her dance debut under the tutelage of Guru Sapna Krishnan. She proved to be the embodiment of bhava, taala, abhinaya and, most importantly, natya that evening as she presented each and every item with the same exhilarating energy and vibrancy from start to finish. Her charm, dedication and passion for the dance shone through her every movement and every expression, delighting the audience.

Saumita opened with an invocatory piece, the Mallari, set in Ragam Gambeeranattai. She danced in praise of Lord Ganesha – seeking the blessings of Lord Nataraja, her Guru Sapna Krishnan and the Orchestra. Gracefully transitioning from the upbeat Mallari to the vibrant Jathiswaram, she demonstrated her training in pure nritta. Saumita, then, transitioned into the main piece of the dance margam, the Varnam. Set in Ragam Lathangi, the varnam was choreographed to “Nee Manamirangi Vandharulvai.” Saumita enlivened the staged with the tales of Lord Muruga’s life, starting with the narrative of his birth from the flames of Shiva’s third eye. Her leg and body movements were precise and definitive, enacting and conveying every detail with precision. She brought alive the peacock on which Lord Muruga rides with her graceful movements, and as well as the Kavadi, which Muruga is so fond of. Saumita’s Varnam was a testament to the passion, perseverance and devotion in her Bharatnatyam training.

Through the course of evening, Saumita exhilarated the audience with her Bhava - both subtle and exaggerated – during her depiction of the divine power of the Goddess in “Omkara Karini.” The evening was made all the more notable by the performance of “Mahadevashivashambo.” As Saumita depicted the various legends of Lord Shiva, she invoked the Lord of Dance on stage with her. Especially poignant was Saumita’s portrayal of the tale of Shiva’s encounter with Raavana, whom Lord Shiva punishes for playing with Mount Kailash. A highpoint of the dance was when she transformed into Shiva, angrily demanding Ganga to bless the land with her holy water. The enactment of Ganga’s powerful flow caused the audience to be overcome with emotion, compelling them to applaud during the routine. After the chilling Mahadeva Shivashambo, the pinnacle piece of the evening, Thaye Yashoda, was on a lighter note as it presented the playfully antics of Lord Krishna. The finale, Thillana, was filled with beautiful eye-catching poses as well as subtle body movements. The Mangalam, which concluded the recital, brought an overwhelming sense of joy and achievement to Saumita as well as the audience.

The whole performance was well supported by the powerful, but melodious voice of vocalist Sudev Warrier, a disciple of renowned Carnatic music maestro Dr. Balamuralikrishna. The dance was well complimented with K S Sudhaman on Mridangam and Chittoor Pathanjali on Flute.
Saumita has been a student of Guru Sapna Krishnan since 2004, and has fervently trained in the art of Bharatnatyam for the last six years. She is a graduate of Shrewsbury High School, and will be attending the George Washington University in Washington D.C. in the fall. At the university, she will work toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. She has vowed to keep dance a significant part of her life, through college and beyond.

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