“Divinity in Dance”
Smt. Sujaya Dixit, one of Atlanta's eminent Bharatanatyam teachers, organized an event called "Homage to Lord Nataraja." It was her fifth annual event honoring divinity in dance. The program took place on November 12 at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta.
Before the dance program started, Sri Srinivasa Sharma, one of the temple's priests, did an elaborate puja for Lord Nataraja. This was followed by Dr. Krishna Mohan, a trustee, giving a short presentation on the progress of construction of the Shiva temple.
The emcee, Dr. Jayashree Shankar, introduced each piece and dance school. In the first dance called the Vinayaka Stuti, Smt. Sujaya Dixit's students Sona Rao, Aruna Srinivasiah, and Ankita Shirahatti presented a prayer to Lord Ganesha in the Bharatanatyam style to herald an auspicious beginning to the afternoon's program.
An Allarippu, again in the Bharatanatyam style, where the Gods, Guru and audience were praised was presented by Smt. Bhavani Subramani and her student Anuja Balachanthiran. Smt. Bhavani Subramani then presented a solo dance on the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the hero of the Ramayana to a Bhajan.
Smt. Padmaja Kelam's students presented a folk dance called Kavadi Chindu depicting the story of Lord Muruga's enchantment with Valli. Akshaya Vijayakumar's exceptional performance is worthy of a mention as her involvement and energy were evident. Pallavi Rallapalli, Akruthi Singh, Shruti Chandramouli, Vidya Rudresh, Urvashi Pandya, Udita Menon, Sanjana Ramesh, and Priyanka Natarajan joined Akshaya in the item.
Siva and Parvathy's wedding preparations were lyrically depicted by a folk dance in the Kuchipudi style by Smt. Sasikala Penumarti. The dance invited the audience to view the joyous activity taking place before the wedding of Siva and Parvathy and was performed by Reneeta Basu, Jayanthi L. Narayan, Rathika Gunturi, Pallavi Penumetcha, Sumi Selvaraj, Kanan Pandya, Praneetha Saraswathula, and Revathi Lakkakula.
In the sixth dance, Smt. Uma Pulendran and her students, Asvini Harikrishnan, Mitra Kumareshwaran, Sandhya Gomadam, and Yami Joshi, presented a dance in praise of Lord Siva in Bharatanatyam style set to the music of the famous song Bho Shambo composed by Sri Dayananda Saraswathi.
Radhika Nataraj, a student of Smt. Sujaya Dixit presented a solo dance on Lord Krishna, where she treated the audience to a delightful rendering of the antics of the playful Lord Krishna.
A Thillana was presented by Smt. Sujaya Dixit's students, Devi Sampath, Akshata Shirahatti, and Aditi Srinivasiah. It was a dance featuring complex footwork and rapid alternating rhythms and beats. This was followed by the temple president, Dr. Kancherla, honoring the teachers.
The program ended with Om Namoh Shivayah, presented by Smt. Anupa Thakurta and her students, Nandini Sunil, Diya Datta, Sarayu Narayan, Umika Pal, Shivangi Das, Ahona Chatterjee, Amita Nawathe, Rachel Kumar, Theresa Shambach, and Puja Shah. The item was about Shiva, Parvathy and their four children, and set to fusion music. The younger participants with their colorful costumes in this item deserve a special mention.
Smt. Sujaya Dixit presented trophies to everyone who participated in the dance program and gave thanks to all those who helped make the program possible.
The program would have been more thrilling had the audio in the auditorium been of higher quality. The evening ended with all the participants walking down the stage carrying lamps up to the Shiva temple to the accompaniment of the chanting of the Mrutyunjayam Mantra.���
~ Nivedita Krishnakumar
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