I want to dedicate this post to the classical dance form of Bharatnatyam in honor of Nritya Hriday 2015. Bay area Nritya guru Megha Shetty hosts bharatnatyam dance program Nritya Hriday every year with her students. This year the nritya group hosted Nritya Hriday 2015 at the Jain temple, Milpitas on March 21st.
Bharatnatyam is a graceful dance form that incorporates meaningful dance and dialogue with emphasis on facial and eyes expressions embedded in sculptural poses. It is termed as natya shastra, which translates as science of theater. Bharatnatyam dance was invented in the temples of Indian southern state of Tamilnadu. Lord Shiva is regarded as the god of this dance form. The lyrics of songs, shlokas, and dialogues in the stories enacted in bharatnatyam are based in Sanskrit and Tamil language and composed predominantly in Indian classical Carnatic music.
For the past two weeks while prepping for my daughter’s dance performance I realized, just how much it takes to put up with this dance on stage. Her dance group was busy practicing for the big day, while I was busy arranging for her costume, accessories, jewelry, etc. Here, I want to specially thank Seema for letting us borrow the costume and jewelry because the mallari dance group would have been incomplete without her help.
This dance form requires custom made dress that accentuates bharatnatyam dance poses. The dancers need to have a specific hairstyle with make up and the temple jewelry to go with the whole ensemble. I think, I was stressing out more than my daughter in this process because this was her first year of bharatnatyam. I spent hours in watching YouTube videos on bharatnatyam tutorials for hairstyles and makeup. Of all, I found the hairstyle most challenging because my daughter has really short hair.
After two dress rehearsals with hairstyle and makeup trials, it took me two and a half hours to get her completely ready for the final performance. Of course, it would not have been possible without the assistance of Shivani. I really admire the way all the girls in the program carried themselves and danced on the stage gracefully with the heavy getup.
The program got a traditional head start with an authentic Nataraja and ghungroo puja. Next up were the dances on various invocatory items of bharatnatyam like alarippu, mallari, pushpanjali, varnam, and thillana. The program concluded with some semi classical and contemporary form of dances. All the dancers looked fabulous, and performed flawlessly to make Nritya Hriday 2015 a huge success. With audiences in their ethnic clothes the aura of the auditorium was culturally rich and nostalgic because it reminded of India at its core. The whole program was covered by INDTV and felicited by Cupertino city council member Mrs. Savita Vaidyanathan. In the end, all the dancers were rewarded with a trophy and a certificate. Not only the performances on the stage, but also after watching and experiencing the backstage closely, I salute Nritya guru Megha Shetty who strives to continue the legacy of bharatnatyam miles and miles away from our home country. She inspires our girls to follow their passion by dedicating her life to dance.