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Amritaa Sreeram’s Arangetram – Exemplary Display of Dedication and Discipline

Amritaa performing one of intricate steps of dance during her Arangetram

Amritaa performing one of intricate steps of dance during her Arangetram

by Sanchali Basu
Amritaa Sreeram, an immensely dedicated dancer, passionate about her dancing, gave an outstanding performance proud at her Arangetram on Saturday, August 6, 2016 at the Jewish Community Center in Houston. Her guru, Smt. Padmini Chari, a renowned Bharatnatyam, classical dance exponent hailed Amritaa’s Arangetram as a testament to dedication and discipline.
It was an auspicious beginning with Amritaa taking the blessings of God, family, guru and parents Subhas and Shonali Sreeram and welcoming the guests. Dr. Surabi Veeraraghavan was introduced as the Mistress of Ceremonies. The program commenced with a prayer by the musicians. Vocalist Smt. Pusthakam Ramaa immediately struck a chord with the audience with her very first notes in her divine voice and she kept them enthralled throughout. Flautist Sri K. S. Jayaram was equally adept and his accompaniment made the music even more mellifluous. Sri Bharghava Halambi, kicked the music up a notch and was able to create sounds on the rhythm pad, that were unique and outstanding. The mridangam, played by Sri P. Janardhana Rao and the nattuvangam by Guru Padmini Chari made the orchestra complete and a well rounded unit.

Smt. Padmini Chari, Amritta’s guru presenting her with her diploma certificate.

Smt. Padmini Chari, Amritta’s guru presenting her with her diploma certificate.

Amritaa made her entrance with the Natarajanjali, an invocation to the Lord of dance Nataraja and Ganapathi Vandana, as is the custom with any auspicious occasion, a tribute to the remover of all obstacles, Lord Ganesha. The second piece in any Bharatnatyam Arangetram is the Jatiswaram and Amritaa wove different types of rhythmic patterns with the help of basic Adavus (steps) in this dance.
Varnam, which is usually the central piece of any Bharatnatyam performance, highlights the strength of the dancer since it is a very comprehensive and strenuous dance and brings out every aspect of the dance form including abhinaya (facial expressions) and intricate footwork (Jathis). Amritaa with the able guidance of emcee Surabi, conveyed the essence of the dance with a very short demonstration of the different aspects of this long 30 minute dance depicting the heroine’s love and deep devotion for Lord Nataraja.
Pahimam, a dance glorifying Goddess Devi was very well executed by Amritaa, and her very caring and compassionate nature reflected so beautifully throughout the dance, it almost seemed like the dance was choreographed just for her. The way she switched between the characters of the fierce goddess and the frightened demon was truly flawless. Another dance glorifying Lord Shiva, Bho Shambho brought out the best in Amritaa and her difficult poses reminded one of South Indian temple sculptures. This piece was one to be remembered by all.
Amritaa’s friends and family members all touched upon her tremendous shy nature when she first started to dance at the tender age of 8 and how she had blossomed into this beautiful confident dancer and how much stronger dance had made her. Besides dancing, her passion for the arts extends to singing, as was expressed by chief guests Chandrakantha and David Courtney. She also loves to do Bollywood dance and played the violin in her school orchestra.

Amritaa’s abhinaya was precise throughout her performance. Photo credit: Navin Mediwala

Amritaa’s abhinaya was precise throughout her performance.
Photo credit: Navin Mediwala

The next dance item that followed was Chinna Chinna Padam where mother Yashoda pleads with child Krishna to come to her and Krishna plays pranks on her. Amritaa’s abhinaya of the playful interaction between mother and child and in the second part the fiery aggression of Krishna when he subjugated the evil snake Kaliya and danced on its hood were impeccable.
Thillana, the penultimate dance of the recital was very fast paced and vibrant and showcased Amritaa’s joy and exuberance when she dances. The jugalbandi during the dance attested to her ability to grasp the beats played on the mridangam and was appreciated by resounding applause from the crowd. The performance ended with the Mangalam, a final salutation to God, Guru and the audience. She then came out to thank her guru, the musicians, her parents, the audience and everyone who helped.
Guru Smt. Padmini Chari was all praise about her deserving pupil and presented her with her diploma certificate. Shonali, Amritaa’s mother was very emotional with her vote of thanks and thanked photographer Navin Mediwala, Lee Snyder with the lights and videographer Jim Stamos.
A sumptuous dinner by caterer Annam, awaited the audience at the end of the wonderful performance. Kudos to the entire team of dedicated volunteers, well wishers and above all the musicians, guru and the sincere hard working student for such a beautiful, well-organized Arangetram. We wish Amritaa well as she makes her transition to university life and know she will forever be a performer.


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