By Havisha Neelamraju
When you think of the classical art form of Bharatanatyam, a lot of different things start popping into your head. Right from the vibrant costumes, dazzling jewelry, and impressive makeup, these are some of the smaller aspects that the dancers and the audience will continue to resonate with.
The name “Bharatanatyam” actually comes from a Sanskrit word that is a simple derivation of the three vital elements of dance: Emotion (bhavam), melody (Raga), and rhythm (taala). True to its meaning, it is still one of the oldest and most well-known forms of dance to have originated from the temples of Southern India. While Bharatanatyam in its entirety is portrayed as a dramatic form of dance, it has also evolved over time to incorporate innate elegance, expression, and the captivating art of storytelling. These attributes gradually instill a sense of curiosity among individuals, driving them to learn more about this ancient dance form and eventually pave the way to begin their dance journey.
Over the years, Bharatanatyam has gained more admiration and appreciation throughout the nation, especially in the state of Massachusetts. In 2010, Srimathi Kalaimangai Anbalagan founded AmudhaSri Dance School. It is a leading and eminent fine arts school located in Shrewsbury, MA that strives to perpetuate the traditional dance form of Bharatanatyam.
The school also strives to preserve the artform’s classical rigor and the Indian heritage it is associated with, that is perceived as being highly prestigious and popular within our society. Amudhasri Dance School also strongly believes in giving back to the community by contributing to fundraisers and institutions like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Vision Aid, and the Adyar Cancer Institute (India). Nearly ten calendar years have rolled by, but for Smt. Kalaimangai, time seems to stand still in tranquility. Her career initially paved its way when she began working as an IT person. However, after a few years, she decided to resign from her IT job since she wanted to pursue her passion for Indian classical dance by teaching it to others. Ever since, she slowly emerged as an accomplished and graceful dancer and has been featured in many of the major dance festivals in India. Till this day, her love for Bharatanatyam continues to grow and if it weren’t for her immense dedication and passion, Amudhasri Dance School wouldn’t have been able to achieve some of its biggest milestones.
This year, Amudhasri Dance School is pleased to announce that they will be hosting the thematic theatre production “Navashakthi – Empowerment of Women”, under the direction of Smt. Kalaimangai Anbalagan. This event will be taking place on September 8th, 2019, at 3:00 PM, at J. Everett Collins Center, 100 Shawsheen Rd, Andover, MA, 01810. The three-hour choreographed performance will feature the work of over 100 dancers, and profoundly focuses on the empowerment of women, the story of the nine avatars of a powerful goddess, and her pursuit to defeat all evil.
Throughout history, the Hindu mythologies have established numerous goddesses, who have been endowed with prominent powers. Goddess Durga, a powerful manifestation of the cosmic, feminine energy, is a renowned female deity and an iconic symbol to innumerable women due to the optimistic energies she offers to eradicate all evil. As the phrase “good over evil” is one of the most basic concepts in Bharatanatyam, each dance will demonstrate one of the nine avatars of this powerful goddess and her tale of fighting off the evil spirits. Furthermore, this event is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council — Shrewsbury Cultural Council and will also serves as a fundraiser where all proceeds are donated to the Genesis Foundation, which is a non-profit organization located in greater Boston that is dedicated to helping children with genetic disorders, and rare diseases & disabilities. As Amudhasri Dance School believes in making a difference in any shape or size, even the most simple acts of benevolence can go a long way in making this experience memorable for everyone.
As Bharatanatyam continues to gain more universality in different parts of the world, it will continue to carry inborn elegance, and most importantly, the Indian heritage it originally sprung from. Being one of the oldest dance forms to have originated from Southern India, it has been the ultimate form of passing down stories, poems, songs, and legends. Over centuries of time, it has enabled people to express spiritual ideas, connect with themselves and their audience on an emotional level, and inherently develop a deeper connection to their heritage and roots. Bharatanatyam is a vast resemblance of the past, and through respecting it, we are bringing back what this art truly meant: a celebration of the existence and free spirit of the human body.