Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A day out at Bharatanatyam Arangetram

On last Saturday, I got an opportunity to attend Bharatnatyam Arangetram of one of my friend's daughter and it was such an amazing and overwhelming experience that I knew I have to share my experience with my readers.

I organize Art & Crafts Fair at my work place and that's how my friendship with Shobana started around 3 years back. Shobana is a very talented and experienced jewelry maker and her work includes wide variety of styles. When I got an invitation for her daughter's Bharatnatyam Arangetram around a month back, I was pleasantly surprised and had not much  idea about the grandeur of the ritual. I was determined to attend it for sure as I had never attended one before and after I talked to some of my friends who are from Southern India and came to know the significance of Arangetram I was sure not to miss it.

Bharatnatyam is an ancient classical Indian dance form which originated many centuries ago in Southern India. Bha- Bhavam (means expression), Ra- Ragam (means music), Ta- Talam (means beat or rhythm) and Natyam (means dance) in Tamil language. Arangetram is a debut on-stage performance of a Bharatnatyam student after undertaking years of training. Its the graduation performance and only done when the Guru (teacher) feels that the student is ready to perform solo in public. Its a 3 hr performance divided into two major parts with total 8-9 acts. The student performs wide variety of dances ranging from simple to really complex ones showcasing abundance of postures and expressions. The performance is supported by a complete orchestra which includes a vocalist singing for each act accompanied by a Mridang, a Flute and a Violin. The combination of live music and dance makes it a heavenly experience.

Arangetram is a very proud moment not only for the Guru and the student but for the parents too who invite family and friends to attend the performance and bless the student. There were around 300 people for the event which included family & friends from various parts of US and India. It was like a mini Indian wedding as they call it, attendees give a gift to the student and dinner was served for all after the performance. Traditionally the gift used to be either gold or cash but these days other gifts are also fine. I thoroughly enjoyed each act and loved the way Shobana's daughter explained each act before performing it. The hard work of nine years was easily evident in her effortless dance. I could clearly see how proud Shobana and her husband felt of her daughter's achievement and I myself felt very much honored to be a part of their special moments. I wish Shobana's daughter all the very best as she starts her college this fall.

I would say that if you get a chance to attend an Arangetram don't miss it.


1 comment:

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