By Rishika Sai Makkena
NASHUA, NH–We had not seen such passion while dancing on stage than there had been at Gauri Narayan’s arangetram this summerat Nashua High school North. A rising freshman at Barnard College, Columbia University, Gauri has been classically trained since the age of 7, even earning a Certificate in Performing Arts from Alagappa Performing Arts Academy, Alagappa University recently.
Having always dreamed of performing her arangetram, this dream came through under the long guidance and tutelage of Smt. Jeyanthi Ghatraju at Natyanjali. Coming such a long way in her dance journey, Gauri brought her performance to a whole new level with her powerful yet passionate and graceful performances.
The event opened up with a warm welcome from Gauri’s parents and the tying of the bells (Salangai) by Smt. Jeyanthi Ghatraju. Having set the stage for a spiritual journey to the temple in margam format, Gauri started off with her first item, Solkattu. This is where she sought the grace and blessings from Lord Nataraja, her guru, the musicians, and the audience. Dancing with tremendous technique while at the same time captivating the audience, Gauri effortlessly showed the grace and her passion for dance while beautifully executing her initial pieces – alarippu in Misra nadai, and a scintillating jathiswaram in ragam Bahudhari.
Soon came the central piece of the performance – the varnam. Despite being over 35 minutes long, Gauri performed the long awaited piece with a pleasant blend of pure dance, expressions, and storytelling. With this dance, she took us to the moolasthanam or central precinct of the temple with Lord Vishnu as the presiding deity during her spiritual journey through the arangetram. With a genuine smile on her face she expressed stories such as the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu to a typical journey to Tirupathi. After the Varnam, Gauri then continued to gracefully dance through various compositions such as Potri Potri, abhang and dances of pure joy like the Thillana. With great technique and passion, Gauri finally ended the performance with Mangalam, a short prayer where the Shishya (dance student) thanks Lord Nataraja, her guru, the musicians, and the audience.
An important highlight of the arangetram was the amazing orchestra that consisted of Guru Smt Jeyanthi Ghatraju on the nattuvangam, Smt Neela Ramanuja on vocal, Sri N. G. Ravi on mridangam, Sri Krishnaprasad on the flute and Sri Pramath Kiran on the rhythm pad. And the standing ovation from the audience just said it all!
(Makkena is a rising Sophomore at the North Andover High School and a student of Smt Jeyanthi Ghatraju at Natyanjali.)
Photo credits – MRK Visuals