By Saketh Mynampati
SHARON, MA–On a beautiful fall evening on last month in New England, blue skies and a slight cool breeze welcomed the audience to witness the magnificent Bharathanatyam Arangetram (solo dance debut) of 14 year old Anvitha Addanki, daughter of Chandana and Vijay Addanki at the Sharon Middle School in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Anvitha began learning the ancient and revered form of Bharatanatyam from Guru Smt. Poornima Risbud, founder and creative director of Rasarang School of Performing Arts, from the tender age of five. The audience was treated to a spell-binding performance, a perfect confluence of grace, talent and a deep understanding of the traditional dance form. This showcased the skills of both the teacher and the student.
The event commenced with the welcome address by her parents. Anvitha started her recital with Pushpanjali, a traditional opening dance, in which the dancer offers flowers to seek the blessings of Nataraja – the deity of dance, the Guru, and the accompanying artists, as well as the audience, for a successful performance. Pushpanjali set to Aadi thaala, an 8-beat cycle, was followed by “Shri Vighna Rajam Bhaje”, a prayer in praise of Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles from a successful completion of a good deed.
A very colorful Mayura Alarippu followed. This invocational piece was inspired by the movements of a peacock. Alarippu is usually taught at the beginning of Bharathanatyam training and is considered a warm up piece for the dancer. Anvitha’s movements and rhythmic steps, set to Chathusra Thalam, were done with elegance and it was fascinating to see her perform like a peacock. Next, Anvitha performed Jathiswaram which is an abstract dance, devoid, of any Abhinaya (emotions). Here, Anvitha showed her versatility in elaborate footwork and graceful movements, bringing out the three aspects of dance: unity of music, tempo and elegant movements.
Shabdam followed, and Anvitha introduced abhinaya, or facial expressions, and beautifully depicted Lord Krishna playfully teasing all the gopikas. The audience was mesmerized to see this teenager’s expressive abhinaya. The Varnam concluded the first half of the Arangetram. Anvitha beautifully described Valli’s desire to be with her heartthrob Kumaraswami. She depicted the feelings of Valli, asking Kumaraswami why he isn’t coming, and why he is ignoring her. He asks him if his heart is made of stone, and longs for him to come to her on his colorful peacock. The audience was in awe after seeing Anvitha’s beautiful storytelling interspersed with her intricate footwork.
The second half began with Mahadeva Shiva Shambo. Anvitha beautifully depicted the divine features, physical appearance, and celestial qualities of Lord Shiva, the God of dance. She described Shiva as a protector of all people, rich and poor. Next, Anvitha portrayed the grace and feminine energy of Goddess Parvathi showcasing her skills in both Nritta and Abhinaya. With grace and poise, Anvitha seeked the blessings of the benevolent Goddess to bless her with strength and power.
Following that was Muddugare Yashoda, a keerthana by Annamacharya in praise of Lord Krishna. Anvitha performed beautifully comparing Krishna to each of the nine gems. A highly energetic and joyful Thillana in Ragam Vasanthi followed, with sahithyam in praise of Lord Hanuman.
Concluding the recital, Anvitha performed to “Koluvai Vunnade” and “Andhela Ravamidhi”, songs from award winning movie Swarna Kamalam showing how hard work paid off in helping her reach this milestone of performing solo in front of the audience and thanked Lord Nataraja, her Guru, accompanying musicians, and the audience in her Mangalam.
The musicians for the program brought the event to life. Sri EP Sudev Warrier, who provided the vocals for the program, mesmerized the audience with his deep voice. Sri KS Sudhaman, a well known mridangam artist from Kerala engaged the audience with his lively beats. To render a female voice for the final dance, Smt. Vijaya Kondapi joined in with her sweet melodious singing. Young and talented Kum. Varshini Narayanan on the flute provided a beautiful accompaniment. Guru Smt. Poornima Risbud accompanied on the Nattuvangam.
Overall, the spectacular performance by Anvitha, excellent choreography and training by Guru Smt. Poornima Risbud and mesmerizing accompaniment by the talented orchestra were very well appreciated by all who attended the event. The lovely stage arrangement and décor in the hallways was done with the help and support from friends and family. Delicious food from Minerva restaurant made it even more enjoyable. Photography was done by Mr. Trevor Richardson, videography, lighting, and audio services were provided by Mr. Mark Buchanan, and makeup was done by Smt. Sujatha Kannan. Anvitha’s cousins Akhila and Nikhila Archakam did an awesome job as MCs for the evening.
We are all very proud of Anvitha’s accomplishments and we sincerely hope that she continues to pursue this art form and use it for good causes.