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Nrityanjali - From Chidambaram To Chelmsford

Sujatha Meyyappan

On the day of Maha Sivarathri, dancers from different genre – Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kathak and other classical & folk styles assembled at Chemlsford Sai Temple to pay their tribute to the God of Dance – Lord Nataraja.  New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar   held its very first Nrityanjali celebration on March 9, 2013.  
The inaugural celebration of Sai temple Nrityanjali was well coordinated by Ranjani Saigal. Students of Gretchan Hayden, Jasmine Shah,  Jayshree Balarajamani, Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Kalaimangai Anbalagan, Mayadhar Raut, Neena Gulati, Preeti Pamesh, Ranjani Saigal, Seema Bhagwat, Sudha Vijay and Sujatha Meyyappan enlightened the audience with their wonderful performances. 

 About 70 dancers participated in the dance performance that included devotional pieces in various Indian languages. The dancers ranged from tiny tots to senior dancers. Traditional items such as pushpanjali, sthuthis, alarippu, jathiswaram, thillana, padams, pallavi as well as folk dances were performed. The vibrant piece Bho Shambo, presented by one of the teacher, Kalaimangai Anbalagan along with her student was a fitting finale to the Nrithyanjali.

The mesmerizing music, the subtle sounds emanating from the anklet bells, sizzling noise of dance jewellery, vibrant colors of costumes and bright faces of dancers transformed the entire mood of the place into a magical one.  Everyone applauded when Ranjani quoted Mr.Ramamoorthy, father of Jeyanthi Ghatraju, on  how this Nrithyanjali has brought Chidambaram to Chelmsford. 

Ranjani Saigal introduced each item and shared interesting information about the composer, history etc.,  She concluded the blissful evening with a beautiful poem written by her father Prof. R. Subrahmonia Ayyar  on Lord Nataraja

Paduthal Venden , Mattru Padigamum Puneya Venden
Nadi Un Kovilellam Thiruthalam Chella Venden
Thedi un Adiyarkellam Sevai Nan Cheiyya Venden
Adidum Thillainatha Nin Padam Paninthe Pinne!

       Which roughly translates to, “Oh Lord Nataraja, I don’t wish to sing or write your praise, I don’t wish to go on pilgrimage and serve your devotees – once I surrender myself to your dancing feet!” 

      Volunteers at Sai temple did a wonderful job of helping to organize the event. They thanked Ranjani Saigal for organizing the program, all the dance teachers and students for their efforts and vowed to expand the program to a full day event next year.  They also provided dinner prasadam for all devotees gathered for celebrating the event after the aarthi. 

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