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Nrityanjali 2013 - A Divine Experience

Ranjani Saigal

Nrityanjali at the Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland is a day that is highly anticipated by the classical dance community. Each year, dancers young and senior gather to offer their homage to their “Ishta Devatha” Lord Nataraja using dance as the form of worship. This year the Nrityanjali was held on March 24 and over 150 dancers participated in the event. 

After the initial invocation by the priest, students of Sunanda Narayanan, Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Ranjani Saigal, Vyju Gopalan, Neha Parikh, Sripriya Moorthy, Sangeeta Vijay, Neena Gulhati, Sridevi Tirumalai, Jothi Raghavan, Meena Subramanium, Kalpana Balachandar,Tanuja and Parija Meenakshinathan and Jayashree Bala Rajamani presented a wonderful collection of pieces ranging from a simple kavituam to complex Varnams. 

Each year we have a few senior dancers and dance teachers present very special pieces.  Mouli Pal and Jeyanthi Ghatraju presented a lovely Bharatanatyam and Odissi combination item set to the famous Ravana Shiva Tandava Stotram.  Sripriya Moorthy presented an energetic Thillana. Dhanshree Karmarkar, another local teacher also presented a graceful Natesha Kavituam. A mother-daughter joint presentation by Sushila Bambani and her daughter to the famous Shabdam “Tandai Muzhanga” was delightful.  A new dancer Harini Raghavan made a graceful Bharatanatyam presentation. One of the highlights of the event was an unusual Shiva Tandava piece performed by Mesma Belsare. She set this piece to Drupad music.  Her strong and clear movements combined with her emotive abilities and original presentation left a mark on the audience. 

The program is a long one that runs for nearly eight hours.  When the event ended, the Bilvashtaka Stotram rendition began at the Nataraja Sannidhi. It brought the day to a beautiful close. The event runs with the help of volunteers. Two high school students Dhavakar Mahander and Pranav Ghataraju helped manage the audio for the entire presentation. Volunteers Chokku Manian, Jeyashree SivaSubramanian, Raajan Narayanan, Shanmugam Bavanantham, Aruna Kannan, Ganesh Koy, Soundara Rajan and KS Mani helped with several aspects of the program. 

For myself and Jeyanthi Ghataraju, coordinating this program gives us great joy and we thank Lord Nataraja for the opportunity and look forward to the event each year. 

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