Lalithakalalaya School of Bharatanatyam’s 8th annual concert

Lalithakalalaya School of Bharatanatyam’s 8th annual concert held recently, was very enjoyable and culturally enriching. There was a diversity in the choice of costumes, dances, music and inclusive of all age groups. The dances were all choreographed and curated by the guru and founder of the school, Smt Padmalakshmi Sriram on the concept of “Nava Vidha Bhakthi “, the 9 forms of bhakti, intended in emoting the essence of devotion, just in time for the Navarathiri season.

The first item was a demonstration of the twelve names of Lord Ganesha presented by Smt Padmalakshmi. Her energy, vibrance and creative exploration of Lord Ganesha was a treat for the audience. She set the stage for the evening and provided the inspiration for her students to aspire and achieve a high standard.

Bharatanatyam is a story telling dance in which the dancers use poses, expressions and hand movements to communicate mythological stories.  The students presented mythological stories of Lord Nadarajah, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna and Hanuman. The expressions, grace and synchronisation of the dancers were commendable.  A noteworthy feature of the evening was the interaction of the dancers with the audience, which injected a lot of energy and life in the auditorium and much enjoyed by the audience.  The students also enacted a thematic dance drama of Lord Nadarajah, something new for the audience. It depicted the dialogue the devotee engages with Lord Nadarajah in the journey of life, from birth to death.  It was meticulously choreographed, exhibiting intense vibrance, energy and intricate movements involving a significant number of dancers, performing alongside the guru. It was not only enjoyable watching this drama but also brought the realisation that the Lord only appears when there is a total surrender.

Salangai pooja is the first milestone in a dancer’s journey after learning dance under a guru for a few years. Sisters, Harsha and Haron Shibu, due to unforeseen circumstances could not join their team when they performed their Salangai pooja. Both the sisters crossed this milestone presenting the Pushpanjali and Alarippu and group performance with their salangai pooja batch, the Sapta Tandavam, the seven vigorous dances of Lord Shiva.

Lalithakalalaya School of Bharatanatyam has students who have just turned three. Teaching these students is not easy as it requires patience, effort and dedication. It was a proud moment for the parents to see their children on stage and demonstrating the mudras and Ganesha slokam while chanting.

Another presentation which received a great ovation from the audience is the Kolattam / dandiya dance by a group of ladies trained within a month, mostly above sixty years with minimal dancing experience.  Smt Padmalakshmi wanted to provide the pleasure and joy of dancing to those who did not have an opportunity to do so and also convey the message that age is no barrier to learn anything.

Smt Padmalakshmi affirms that the goal of the school is not only to teach dancing but also imbibe the fundamental values of discipline, respect, courtesy and hard work. She says that she treats each and every student as her own and her duty is to motivate them to achieve their best. Much thought goes in showing this to the students.  Her students were made to feel special in seeing the collage of their individual photos displayed on the “wall of fame” in the foyer. All the students were also thrilled to receive an individualised hexagon wooden tile picture of themselves from the school. A number of students were also presented with certificates for dedication.

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