Nrithya Shakthi Yatra – A dancer’s journey through divine energy 

November 14, 2004


Sri Venkateswara Temple in Bridgewater, NJ, presented an evening of classic Bharatanatyam titled Nrithya Shakthi Yatra by Suba Ramesh Parmar and her students of Shubanjali School of Performing Arts on Oct 16, 2004, as part of the Navarthri festival. 

Combining ancient Hindu mythology with modern choreography, Shubanjali portrayed a dancer’s poetic journey into the mystical world of rhythm and melody.  The beginner students opened the show with Pushpanjali - an offering of flowers to Lord Nataraja.  The juniors continued with Kauthuvam, a piece that invokes Lord Ganesha or the remover of all obstacles. Kauthuvam won second place in the Junior Classical Group category at the temple’s annual competition this summer.  The dancers included Meghana Vijaysimha, Anupama Dwarki, Arathi Elango, Deepa Gandhi, Bianca Karmaker, Khushbu Parekh, Anagha Prasanna, Manaswini Rajaram, Rathi Ramaswamy, Priyanka Shyam, and Kavya Udupa.

Next, Suba presented a duet with Nandichol and a Swati Tirunal Kriti in praise of Lord Padmanabha. The first item described the bull Nandi placed in front of all Shiva shrines.  Suba distinctly showed Lord Shiva’s mastery over Nandi’s untamed energy.  Through Nandi, Suba also represented a devotee, mimicking the posture every devotee takes before Shiva’s shrine. This song transitioned into the Swati Tirunal Kriti, which depicted Lord Padmanabha’s Kaustuba garland and abode at Syanadapura. 

Suba’s senior students took the stage next with a varnam in Raag Ranjani portraying Goddess Parvati’s battle with the evil demon Asura. This item won the 2004 Outstanding Dance School Award at the temple competition in July and included Shubanjali students Sharbari Bose, Karishma Dagar, Jasmine Gadhavi, Nikhita Gadi, Mythili Lahiri, Richa Pandey, Ashwinee Ragam, and Sumana Ramakrishnan.

The next item, dedicated to Mother Earth, was set to Roopaka Taal. This technically challenging beat contains measures that run for only three cycles instead of the standard four-cycled Rupaka Taal. With this composition by Ilaiyaraja, Suba demonstrated that creativity can be boundless even within an ancient art form.  Tyagaraja’s Nagumomu in Raag Abheri was performed by Suba Parmar.

The patterns of melody and rhythm cascaded into an energetic finale, rendered with expertise by a great team of musicians from India. The senior group joined Guru Suba Ramesh Parmar for the finale.

Another junior Shubanjali group presented a Tillana, which won them the first place in the temple’s Junior Classical Group category this summer.  The creative element in the Tillana was a jugalbandi between the mridangam and dancers. The show concluded with Maithareem Bhajathe, a prayer for world peace and unity. 

Shubanjali is a Scotch Plains-based dance organization. Suba Ramesh Parmar, schooled in the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam, teaches at various locations throughout New Jersey.