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Shri Gurubhyo namaha.

The origin of the word “Bharatanatyam” is a derivative of the four most important aspects of the dance – Bhaavam, or emotion, Ragam, or melody, Talam, meaning Rhythm, and Natyam, meaning dance. Thus, as its name indicates, Bharatanatyam is a dance form which incorporates emotion, melody, and rhythm. And you will see a beautiful harmonization of these four elements in this evening’s presentation.

Much of Bharatantayam is drawn from the wealth of mythology and philosophy that India is blessed with and yet the stories deal with themes that are instantly relatable for most of us. As you will see today, in most solo performances, the dance calls upon the dancer to depict multiple characters and relate stories about them. You can follow along the storyline with the narrative before the performance and the expressions of the dancer.

As an Arangetram, this evening’s performance of Bharatanatyam is particularly significant. An Arangetram, is a word of Tamizh origin that can loosely be translated to ‘ascending the stage’. The term is reserved for a student’s first full length recital of Bharathanatyam. An Arangetram celebrates years of dedication by both the student and the teacher to this ancient classical dance form. It represents the dancer’s debut as an artist after several years of rigorous training. Shobini will showcase her training of many years in this artform tonight by the presentation of a MARGAM, or the traditional Bharatanatyam repertoire.

We are fortunate to have stellar musicians with us this evening who will accompany and support Shobini through her performance. I will further introduce these artistes during the course of the evening. Let us welcome on the stage this evening: Smt. Gayatri Vasant on vocal, Sri.Sreenivas Ponnappan on mridangam, Sri. G.S. Rajan on flute, Sri. Pranav Swaroop on violin, Vajraang Kamat on ghatam and Shree Varshenee on veena.

The star of this evening, Shobini Palaniappan, began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of six under the guidance of Smt. Shyamala Narayanan at The Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a sanctuary for the arts founded by His Holiness Swami Shantanand Saraswati. Following her move to the US, she continued her dance training under Smt. Uma Palam Pulendran, before meeting her guru, Smt. Savitha Viswanathan. Alongside dance, Shobini has classically trained in Carnatic music for ten years under the tutelage of Smt. Gayatri Vasant, whom Shobini is honored to have as the vocal artist for her arangetram today.

While she has always embraced a soulful connection of her culture through dance and music, Shobini has also been a student of Chinmaya Mission Bala Vihar for ten years. In addition to that, she has a love for horses as a competitive equestrian rider. In the fall, Shobini will pursue her passion for science and medicine as a neuroscience major at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

 

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