Importance of arangetram 
(Excerpted from the narthaki Discussion Forum) 
 
April 11, 2008
 
Can someone answer these questions for meÖ 

1. What is the importance of arangetram? 
2. Is arangetram such a grand event that the expenses should be almost like a marriage? 
3. Why has arangetram become a mere qualification to add to a marriage CV? 
4. Is it a short-cut to keep in touch with the Indian culture? 
5. Why is knowledge of Indian culture connected to arangetram? 
6. Is arangetram the termination of the learning phase? 
7. Once arangetram is over, students think that they are experts. Why? 
8. What can be done to save the real ethos of arangetram? 

- Priya 
(March 27, 2008) 
 

 
1. Just an official debut performance. Like a premiere of a new film. The difference is that your arangetram is going to be watched ONLY by your relatives, your parents' co-workers, neighbors, your schoolmates, and a couple of chief guests who do not understand anything about arangetram but who will deliver long and meaningless speeches in the middle of your arangetram so that half of your relatives would have enough time to sneak out and run away, away, away from that boredom! 

2. If you have more money that you can spend, you must spend as much as you can. So, for 1 bottle of water you can pay Rs.10 or Rs.30000, depending on how much needless cash you have. If people buy a little stone for Rs. 50 lakhs, they can spend two times more on the arangetram.  

3. The more formal qualifications you have, the happier your marriage will be. This is at least what all stupid people think. After all, your husband will not let you dance after the wedding is over. 

4. Is it a short-cut to keep in touch with the Indian culture? Yes, also it is a status token. 

5. If your child does not know anything about the India culture, you can boast to your neighbors about her arangetram. 

6. Is arangetram the termination of the learning phase? Of course! Now you can start your own school and send your expensive guru to hell! 

7. Once arangetram is over, why do students think they are experts? This is what their gurus try to convince them about. Otherwise, the students would ask, "Why on earth have we spent so much of money, time and effort, and still have not learnt much????"  

8. Just be a proud Indian. If anyone asks you why you are proud, tell him that we are just like that - proud, and that's all.  

Why didn't you ask, "What can be done to save the real ethos of Bharatanatyam"? 

- K Meera 
(March 29, 2008) 
 

 
Arangetrams have become an easy announcement of a daughter ready for marriage. 

Arangetram factories all over the world give the impression to a student that they are ready to conquer the scene. 

As long as there are innumerable teachers finding a living through arangetram and parents ready to spend money, let this business flourish. 

True art, involvement, dedication etc. can wait till a proper guideline is drawn by experts and those who manage art in Government.  

Donít worry. Let the sabha secretaries have a cold coffee with a young dancer in their old age. Let the musicians get a new sari on the occasion of arangetram. Let the guru get a lump sum amount.  

Long live parents - long live arangetrams... 

- G S Rajan 
(March 30, 2008) 
 

 
I would like to respond to the 'Roses and Thorns' debate on 'importance of arangetram.' Here are my answers:  

What is the importance of arangetram?
An arangetram is a graduation ceremony. As with any graduation ceremony, it denotes the attainment of certain skills. In the case of Bharatanatyam, it denotes the successful completion of a series of dances.

Is arangetram such a grand event that the expenses should be almost like a marriage?
Yes. An arangetram is such a grand event that the expenses should be almost like a marriage. It is a time for one's family and friends to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that has gone into learning the dance. However, one must remember that weddings can be both expensive and inexpensive. There is no reason that an arangetram needs to be expensive. There are many ways that one can cut down on arangetram expenses just like one can cut down on wedding expenses. 

Why has arangetram become a mere qualification to add to a marriage CV?
Just like graduating from anything, the arangetram shows one's dedication and hard work. Plus, dance is healthy for the body, looks beautiful, and teaches self-confidence. Wouldn't anyone like his/her spouse to possess these characteristics?

Is it a short-cut to keep in touch with the Indian culture?
Studying Bharatanatyam is a way to keep in touch with the Indian culture and the Indian community. It is not a short-cut though. Studying Bharatanatyam takes much dedication and hard work.

Why is knowledge of Indian culture connected to arangetram?
Knowledge of Indian culture is connected to arangetram just like it is connected to learning Bharatanatyam. It is easier to show the appropriate expressions when one understands the dances, and the dances often represent Hindu characters and stories; therefore, it helps to understand Indian culture to perform the dances well.

Is arangetram the termination of the learning phase?
Just like graduating from anything, the graduation is not the end but only the beginning - with regard to dance, there remains much to learn pertaining to choreographing, improvising, and teaching others.

Once arangetram is over, students think that they are experts. Why?
Not all students think they are experts after the arangetram. Just like not all students think they are experts after graduating from any other program.

What can be done to save the real ethos of arangetram?
The real ethos of arangetram can be saved by underlying the main principles and focusing on those principles. Examples include attitude, etiquette, practice, dedication, devotion, selfless service, promoting the dance, preserving the dance, learning the dance, teaching the dance. 

- Joy
(June 10, 2010)