Arangetram is an important occasion in the career of any Bharatanatyam dancer, and this time it was the occasion for young Bharatanatyam dancer Namita Jalan at the Triveni Kala Sangam Auditorium, New Delhi on the Sunday evening. Presented by renowned dancer and (Padma Shri) Guru Geeta Chandran, the arangetram evening presented a mesmerising dance act by her disciple Namita, who not just made her Guru proud but equally impressed the guests with her performance.

Namita began the Arangetram performance with a Pushpanjali (an offering of flowers) followed by a Tishram Alarippu. The next piece was the Jatiswaram in the Ragam Kanada after which Namita performed Varnam in the Ragam Poorvikalyani, which describes a nayaika asking her friend (sakhi) to bring Lord Kartikeya to her. She tries to describe her ardent love for Kartikeya and how much she longs to be with him. She attempts to convince her that this is the right time for love and that she should quickly go and fetch him. She yearns to be united with Lord Kartikeya soon as every second of waiting feels like ages.

These were followed by two Padams. The first Padam was a Meera Bhajan ‘Mane Chaakar Rakho ji’ in the Ragam Maand. This is a Bhakti Padam that talks about Meera’s love and deep devotion toward Lord Krishna and her longing to become one with him. She tells her lord, O Krishna, please accept me as your chaakar (dasi) as I wish to serve only you. The second Padam Indendu Vachitivira in the Ragam Suratti, talked of the Nayika who confronts her unfaithful lover Krishna at her doorstep. She tells Krishna to leave as this is not “her” house and he has come to the wrong address. The dominant emotion in the lyrics of the Padam is that of khandita-anger laced with sarcasm, sadness, humour and surprise. Namita concluded her performance with a Thillana in the Ragam Rageshwari.

In this wonderful arangetram performance, Namita was ably accompanied by her Guru Geeta on Nattuvangam. Additionally, K. Venkateshwaran (vocals), Manohar Balatchandirane (mridangam), VSK Annadorai (violin), and Varun Rajasekharan (ghatam) added their artistry to the evening. Her performance received a standing ovation from critics, artists and well-wishers.

“Each time I think that I have to go solo on stage for the first time makes me slightly nervous but at the same time, it builds a sense of excitement to go out there and present my talent to the world. I fully enjoyed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and just danced my heart out!” Namita said. “Each stage of learning dance at Natya Vriksha has acted as a building block in the journey of my life. Even before growing conscious about the world, I was training in the dance form of Bharatanatyam. As a child, I used to look forward to meeting my friends, and matching the beats with them. Growing up, dance started holding a deeper meaning. It became a form of expression for me, while exploring my body, the poetry, and the art,” she added.

“At Natya Vriksha, the process of training or abhyaas has been very immersive ensuring that whatever I learn fits in my mind and soul. Further, learning and practicing Bharatanatyam has been more than just dance. It is a form of discipline and routine I practice in my everyday life and it is what defines me. Most importantly, Akka has taught me not just the art of Bharatanatyam, but also the value of nurturing what I do. I cherish the invaluable experiences and learnings that Akka has given me, the legacy I would carry with me for the rest of my life. I am grateful to my Guru for leading me into this enriching journey and providing me the comfort of the ever-blooming NV,” said Namita while talking about her learning at Natya Vriksha.

After the performance of her disciple, Guru Geeta said, “It was an honour, a true tribute, I’m very happy with the way she performed. Her skill and immersion in the spirit of the dance was a treat to watch, I hope she will grow and take her art to new highs.”

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