Dance Academy presents Shivanjali
I have heard
some harsh criticisms from some, such as "This level of dance is good enough
for these kids growing up in America"; "That's all you can expect from
them"; "You cannot expect the same as the kids from India" etc.
Some of these comments have reached the ears of these kids and they may
have put up a glass ceiling to their performance levels. Speaking
for the NRI parents, I can say with our heads held high that our kids have
proven the critics wrong! Padmasri Dance Academy’s 'Shivanjali' program
was another example of the talent of our kids. Our kids are termed
as ABCD's which has been redefined as American Born Cultured Desis.
The "C" can also be for Confident.
I have witnessed
a few programs of Sangeetha Sridhar and clearly this performance was the
best I have seen. Sangeetha was the main dancer with support provided
by her senior students. Her sense of rhythm was perfect. Her
chosen style of dance provides a lot of circular or symmetric motions and
fluid body movements. She gracefully executed them and there were
also several elements of surprise in the presentation. The group
presentation with the students had some striking choreography and costumes.
It is very clear a lot of thought had gone into this. The churning
of the ocean scene with one dancer posing as Mandara Mountain and the others
pulling the serpent tied around the mountain was very enjoyable.
The timing of the pulling and the churning was well executed. Using
several dancers to come together as the multi-headed Shiva with multiple
hands was innovative. Also, this is one of the few dance programs
I have seen with a humorous act as well. Good job!
But one reason
that stands out among the NRI kids growing up in America who are learning
various Indian art forms – it is their guru bhakthi. The guru bhakthi
was demonstrated by Sangeetha Sridhar herself towards her guru Padma Subrahmanyam,
a living legend. This program was a fundraiser for the Bharatha Muni
Temple being built in Chennai. It will be a unique temple dedicated
to dance and a research center promoting our culture. The guru bhakthi
was also evident among the students of Sangeetha Sridhar in the dance program.
Padmasri Dance Academy presented a fabulous thematic dance performance
called 'Shivanjali' and should be commended for an on-time start.
program had a total of 13 songs, it went through quickly. Being a
group presentation, the costume changes were efficient. "Adi Kondar"
song in Mayamalava Goula ragam performed by the mother-daughter team of
Sangeetha and Shilpa was choreographed and presented well. The Varnam
- Roopamu Joochi was long and performed as a solo by Sangeetha, was truly
a treat to watch and listen. The song was in Thodi and was performed
beautifully by the musicians. It provided a lot of scope for sancharis,
bhavam, nrithyam and footwork. In the Thillana in ragam Kannada (not
Kaanada), the speed, poses, formations and footwork were brilliant and
the song was very peppy.
The music accompaniment
was excellent. The singer was Sudev Warrier, a disciple of Balamurali
Krishna. What an energy displayed by the mridangam player,
Sudhaman! Krishna Prasad on the flute was very melodious and his
Kambhodhi alapana was excellent. Nattuvangam debut done by Vijayalakshmi
Ranganathan showed promise. Sangeetha demonstrated her experience
when she did the nattuvangam.
In an overall
excellent show, students with more stage experience need to pay more attention
to the details like walking in and out of stage and showing grace while
standing. Stage management could have been better in terms of spacing the
dancers especially when all the dancers were on stage at one time.
More dress rehearsals might have helped. The dancers also need to
be meticulous in their alankarams without needing to adjust them on stage.
like Geetha Srinivasan and Sathvika Ramaji have grown beautifully as dancers.
Keep it up! The MC for the program was Karunya Krishnan and
her Tamil pronunciation was excellent and descriptions of dances were precise.