Prasad's impressive dance debut
Kumar's zeal to teach did not initially come when she first arrived in
the US. She wanted to be a performer but with time she had a change
of heart and started Anjali Center of Performing Arts. That change
of mind became a boon to many of her students. She became a celebrated
guru who attracted talented students to her fold. She reaped the reward
of producing yet another exemplary star performer in Pragati Prasad.
Rathna Kumar tailors the repertoire of each studentís arangetram to suit
the dancer. Pragati staged her performance far beyond the expectations
of all who contributed to its success and marked an evening of impressive
of the performance, the Varnam had many dimensions to it. Composed by musical
genius Dr. Balamuralikrishna in ragam Gambeeranata, it described Goddess
Devi as the personification of three syllables that constitute the primordial
sound "AUM." Rathna Kumar's choreography was impeccable, the rendition
of the song by vocalist J Ramesh was stirring, accompaniment on the percussion
by N K Kesavan was awesome and the mellifluous flute of B Muthukumar made
for a perfect setting. Pragati Prasad carried all of this to greater heights
and punctuated it with complex and intricate movements. The nine different
emotions which are mentioned in Natyasastra as Rasa Abhinaya were executed
with brilliance. It seemed that the music composer had a dancer in mind
when he composed this Varnam; it had the components of bhava, raga and
tala that goes to make Bharatanatyam and gives scope to the dancer to make
it all complete. J Ramesh intercepted the song with a slokam on Devi Janani.
Kesavan's beat using two or more percussion instruments helped enhance
the dancer's extinction of Mahishasura.
The song "Samagaana priye" was a composition of Sri Satya Saibaba of Puttaparthi, in praise of Sharada Devi enshrined in Sringeri on the Sri Chakra Peetam. Set to raga Atana, Ramesh sang with bhava and Pragati beautifully crafted abhinaya and nritya in tune with the lyrics "Sakala Kala Vallabhe Sharadhe." The penultimate number was Tillana in Amritavarshini raga and Pragati performed this with invigorating rhythm. Aandal Kanavu is taken from 'Nachiyaar Thirumozhi,' its most popular 6th segment, a lovely poetic creation in which Andal describes to her friends her dream of an elaborate wedding with Sriman Narayana. Pragati proved her proficiency in Bharatanatyam by paying attention to details of depicting the joy of a coy maiden.
Dancer Sindhuja Devarajan gave introductions of Rathna Kumar, J Ramesh, N K Kesavan and B Muthukumar. Pragati's Carnatic music teacher Rajarajeshwary Bhat aptly pointed out in her remarks that Pragati understood the meaning of the music, accuracy in laya, the beat, and abhinaya, all of which she combined to bring out the best in the recital.
Pragati started learning dance when she was 8 years old from Madhusri Sethuraman, founder of Srutilaya School of dance in Plano, Texas. Madhusri was invited as the chief guest of the evening and congratulated Rathna Kumar and Pragati for a brilliant performance. Nalini Sadagopan, the emcee of the evening, was fluent with introduction of the dance items.
the proceeds of the performance to her favorite charitable institution
Pragati Foundation, a non-profit organization, and plans to spend a few
weeks working at its beneficiaries - the rural schools of Karnataka, India.
Mr. Harish of Pragati Foundation spoke about Pragati's enthusiasm to help
underprivileged children in India. Her ambition is to carve a career in
the medical field.