Nrityaavishkaar – 2018

Nataranjali Festival 2018
February 4, 2018
Shivarathri – 2018
March 10, 2018

The annual day event Nrityaavishkaar 2018, was held on February 18th 2018, at ADA Rangamandira, JC Road.

The event was a grand success and witnessed some esteemed dignitaries from the field of dance who graced the event as Chief Guests and Guest of Honor. The event also witnessed students dancing to a live orchestra of some very talented young musicians from Bangalore. The wonderful compering was done by Kum. Gayathri.

During this event, Ms. Preeti took the immense pleasure of introducing and thanking the creative mind behind the wonderful logo of the institution Mr. Venu. She also officially launched the website of the institution www.natarangdance.com, thanking Mr. Arjun for designing it and making it beautiful.

A glimpse into the event:

The musicians in the Orchestra were:

On the Vocals we had Shri. Arjun Srivatsav started his training at the age of 6 years under Vidushi. Smt. Sudha. V. Murthy and his mother Vidushi. Smt. Chandrika Manjunath. Later, he began training under the tutelage of Karnataka Kalashree Guru Vidwan. Shri. Bangalore. S. Shankar, under whom his training continues.

Known for his powerful and soulful voice and aesthetics, Arjun has sung in various institutions and sabhas. Few of the worthy mentions of his performances would be Naada Neeraajanam in Tirupathi, Ramaseva Mandali Fort High School Bangalore, Bangalore Gaayana Samaja, Girinagar Sangeetha Sabha, Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha, Jayarama Seva Mandali, Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Bangalore, ISKON Krishna Janmashtami celebrations and many more.

He also conducts classes in vocal music and trains students personally as well as through Skype classes.

On the Mridangam we had Shri. Vinay Nagarajan. Vinay had his initial training under Vidwan. Shri. Narayanaswamy, and he is currently receiving his advanced training under the able guidance of Vidwan. Shri. S. V. Balakrishna. Vinay has accompanied various junior and senior artistes at prestigious venues. He has received various awards such as the Best Accompanying Artist from ISKON, the Endowment Prize from Ramakrishna Mission and many more. He has recently received the Gaanasphurana Yuva Kala Sadhaka award.

Vinay has been a part of various CD and TV recordings, and has composed music for various dance productions. He has performed at prestigious venues such as the Naadaneerajanam festival at Tirupathi, Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Ramanaasramam Tiruvanamalai, Gayana Samaja, Ramaseva mandali and many more. He also conducts classes to train students in the art of Mridangam. He has recently received the Gaanasphurana Yuva Kala Sadhaka award.

On the Violin we had Shri. Sumukh Chandra.

An M.Tech by profession, Sumukh started his Violin lessons at a tender age of 5 under Late Vid. H.V. Krishnamurthy of Vijaya College of Music, Bangalore. Currently, Sumukh is undergoing training from Vid. Shankar Rajan Mahadevan and has been learning Violin for the past 20 years. He has Completed Junior and Senior Grade Exams conducted by Karnataka Secondary Education Board with Distinction. Sumukh, being a solo Violin artist, has been performing at renowned sabhaas in and around the state for the past ten years and his performance has been appreciated widely.

Some of the venues include, Sree Ramanavami National Music festival at Fort High School Grounds. He had accompanied and performed solo concerts in the year 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Sheshadripuram Rama Navami Utsava Festival, Bangalore. Gayana Samaja, Bangalore, Hampi Utsava 2015. TTD, Tirumala and many more.

And on the Nattuvangam we had Guru. Kum. Preeti Sondur.

Always a learner with passion for excellence in performance, Kum. Preeti, took to the classical art of Bharatanatyam at the tender age of 4 years. She has had the opportunity of presenting several public programs featured in the Ranganatha Swamy temple, Guruvayur temple, Karur Natyanjali, Naadaneerajaanam festival at Tirupathi temple, Chinna Melam festival organized at the Thanjavur Brihadeeshwara temple, the ANKURA dance festival organized by the Karnataka Nritya Kala Parishat and many such prestigious platforms. She has received the NRITYA VIDUSHI AWARD at the Nataranjali festival held in Kolkatta.

She has completed her MA in Performing Arts (Dance, Music and Theatre) from Christ College, Bangalore. She and her institute Natarang School of Dance, is a certified member of the International Council for Dance, CID, UNESCO, France. She is also a member of the National Classical Dance Academy. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor. She is currently a disciple of Guru. Shri. Charles Ma.

We also had Guru. Shri. Charles Ma accompanying on the Nattuvangam.

The esteemed guests of the day were:

Chief Guests:

Kalaimaamani. Smt. Vasantha Vaikunth, a classical dancer by profession and passion, has done more than 100 shows all over the world. Her dance school Shiva Shakthi School of Dance has trained many students and she has choreographed a number of dance dramas. Her Centre for Performing Arts was a landmark in the Gulf countries for Indian Art and Culture that won her the award of Bharatiya Pravaasi from the Government of India. She won the Kalaimaamani from the Government of TamilNadu, Kalavidushi from the USA, Cultural Ambassador of India from Oman, Acharya Kalavipanchi from Dr. Balamuralikrishna and many more. Currently, she is fulfilling her real purpose in life by creating an online NGO “lifenliving.org” that extends emotional support to people. A multifaceted person with many hats. However, she believes in sharing positive energy to the society that is languishing in conflicts and confusions.

Shri. Charles Ma was initiated into the sacred world of Bharatanatyam by Guru Smt.Vidya Shimladka(Bangalore). He further honed his skills with some of Bangalore’s finest teachers to finally come under the guidance of Smt. Poornima Ashok (Bangalore), disciple of Padmabhushan Shri. V.P Dhananjayan and Smt. Shanta Dhananjayan. He has trained briefly with Smt. Priyadarsini Govind.

His individuality, a distinct style that is linear with masculine elegance and a flair for Abhinaya set him apart. He is a soloist, choreographer, teacher and his performances are popular not only with the connoisseurs of the art, but also with a young audience that is often seen at his performances.

He has been an INK fellow and spoke at The TED worldwide auditions in Bangalore, has performed at many prestigious festivals across the country and has received commendable reviews. He is often featured in the print media and was chosen as one of India Today’s young achievers in Bangalore in 2011.

He also is a print model and a finalist of a very popular reality show on Sony television and his experimental work for it was appreciated. He is very often invited to speak as a motivational speaker and do workshops for young people across the country. Some of the platforms he has been invited to speak have been the TED X series, the Volvo Leadership Summit, Ink Salons, NID, Christ College Art Workshops, Seminars etc.

Teaching is his passion second only to dance. He is a committed teacher and imparts the artform to young dancers at his school, Adishakti School of Dance. He is also a contemporary dancer and choreographer and has worked with some of the most prestigious institutions in Bangalore like Christ University, St. Josephs college, Sophia’s High School, Franks Anthony Public School, Jain college etc.

He has also has learnt Bollywood style of dance with Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts, Kalaripayattu, mridangam and is a Carnatic music student of Kum. Aruna and Smt. Chandrakala and learns Nattuvangam under Guru Sri. Sajilal Narayanan of The Kalakshetra foundation. He is currently learning Karate and Kathak.

Guest of Honor:

Smt. Rajni Shankar has a Bachelors in Psychology (honors), from the University of Madras, scholarship in Hindi twice, from the govt of Madras in 1975. She has a Post graduate diploma in Personnel Management from Mumbai, and over 3 decades of experience with the 'Written word'. She used to run her own ad agency called 'Ideas Ocean' for over 2 decades. A 'Copywriter' who is an active writer on FaceBook and Linkedin.com. An extremely pious and spiritual person, she is a very sought after social media music and dance critic. She is trained briefly in Bharatanatyam, from Kalasadan, Mumbai and Carnatic Music, from a home tutor. Rajini Shankar enjoys singing ghazals, and had won many prizes for ghazal singing in her younger days. A warm personality, she is at home with almost 8 Indian languages Rajini Shankar's music and dance reviews go beyond the realms of Raagam and Taalam. Positive reviews and attention to detail are her assets. She has, so far reviewed over 50 music and dance concerts in Bengaluru.

All the three guests spoke wonderfully and gave words of wisdom. All of them stressed on the importance of Humility. They said one should always be a humble human being and also have humility towards the Guru, only then can one achieve success in life as well as this divine art form of Bharatanatyam.

The guests also interacted with few parents and gave their blessings to all.

A great show with countless blessings!

Om Devi Namaha!

Review of ‘ Natarang Dance School 3rd Annual Day’

Venue: ADA Ranga Mandira
Date: Sunday, 18th February 2018, 10am

The show was superbly, and meticulously organized by the beautiful dancer and Guru Preeti Sondur, all of 25, who very lovingly followed up with us, to ensure we were there on time, negotiating never ending Bengaluru traffic.

The fair lady, did not want too much of a publicity, prior to the event… for she believes in the quality and power of performance, performance dedicated to her Guru Charles ma, Rudra Rai, and to dance, to Lord Nataraja!

About Preeti Sondur: A young woman, with a Master’s in performing arts, with dance, theater, music, and yoga as prime subjects, at the Christ College. A senior student of Guru Charles ma, aka Rudra Rai, she has worked very hard to be where she is today, running her own little school for dance, called ‘Natarang’ ( I am reminded of the famous Marathi movie with the same title and outstanding dances in it). Interesting connection, since her mother Mrs. Varsha Sondur hails from Pune!

Teaching and training tiny kids, demands truckloads of patience, and the lady is handling it so nicely.

Musicians on the stage were a bunch of young talent:
Vocalist: Arjun Srivatsav
Nattuvangam: Both Guru Charles Ma, and Preeti Sondur
Violin: Sumukh Chandra
Mridangam: Vinay Nagarajan

Chief Guest dancer and Guru, Veena player, and vocalist, Vasantha Vaikunth and I were Invited with great affection, to light the auspicious lamp at 10am on Sunday. Mrs. Varsha Sondur too was there with her beautiful daughter Preeti. Besides being an intelligent dancer, this lady is a very well-mannered person, and has rich family values. Her humility is very natural and infectious. She took blessings from the Lord, from her mother, Vasanta jee and myself, besides her Guru Charles Ma.

We witnessed how beautifully, tastefully Preeti presented a galaxy of tiny stars on stage, doing different, difficult items with natural ease.

* Pushpanjali: Usually the first Item in a ‘ Margam’ or a Dance path, in raagam ‘ Bowli’ set to ‘ Khanda Chapu’ taalam was beautifully choreographed by her Guru Charles ma, aka Rudra Rai. Pretty Preeti, clad in an orange and purple costume looked gorgeous to the core! Simple, effective presentation.

** Little stars taking their baby steps toward becoming future stars, were clad in cream and gold ghagras (South Indian Pavadai), some had a braid longer than their tiny frames. Mooshika Vahana on Ganesha, is not easy to understand, remember, follow live musicians, and they fared quite well. I want them to make mistakes, look nervous and copy from each other, that is how they would grow, learn, fall, get up, and evolve as good dancers and better human beings. Mridangam was excellent and flawless.

Yes, the tiny girls did make a few errors, some smiled, some did not, some were confident, some were conscious and that is how it is meant to be! Or they can never perfect classical dance; for there are no short-cuts here.

*** Alarippu flowers blooming slowly on the arena of Natyam… is the traditional piece, that was performed by senior girls of Preeti Sondur… clad in mint and orange costumes, these angels too k instructions from their guru, obediently, and carefully. Focus was superb.

**** Composed in Raagam ‘Mohanam’ and set to Adi taalam was the next item ‘Srihari Jaya Hari Narayana’ … performed by 9 dolls of ‘ Navarathri festival’ so cute and confident. Tender hands trying to present perfect ‘Mudras’ conscious of the angles and firmness. Dressed in pink, green and blue they lit up the stage.

***** ‘Jaga Janani’ in raagam Mohana Kalyani too was presented to the best of their abilities. They are on the right path, and will soon reach their goals.

****** Preeti performed to the famous ‘Bho Shiva Shambo’ choregraphed by her Guru Rudra Rai, superbly. The vocalist was outstanding in this number. That he was the disciple of Guru Shankar, did reflect in his rendition, and is gifted with a mellifluous voice. Loved Preeti’s poses as Nataraja, her ‘Abhinaya’ was bright and had the right energy, given the fact that she is a dainty damsel.

There was a brief break for felicitations where I was fortunate to hear Guru Charles speak beautifully, unsurprisingly. Also, the charming dancer and Guru Vasantha Vaikunth, who appreciated the efforts of Preeti and spoke about the spirituality in dance. Charles ma emphasized the importance of ‘Humility’ in dancers, lately becoming ‘Extinct’ he said. In fact, amusingly, demonstrated how some students fell at the feet of the Guru, more mechanically and like a ritual, not from the soul. I could not agree more with my son.

The second session:
• Sharanu SiddhiVinayaka by tiny girls again was a treat, that exuded freshness and divinity.
• ‘Srirama Saraswathi’ in this number there was superb synergy of the violinist and vocalist. 9 dolls on the stage once again.
• ‘Natesha Kautvam’ in raagam ‘ Hamsadhwani’ is a dedication to Lord Nataraja, the creator of dance… extremely well done, by little girls.
• A ‘Shabdam’ for young girls with academic and other pressures is hard, a challenging one, but with a patient and affectionate Guru like Preeti Sondur, they pulled it off well. A ‘Raga Malika’ set to Misra Chapu taalam was a delight to watch.
• Grand finale had its patriotic flavor, something new, to end a show, normally it is the ‘Thillana’ yes, the pretty lady did it with grace and devotion, a pithy piece to end a beautiful morning of dances by dolls. The cutest being the Guru herself.’ She brought serenity to the show, with her ‘Vande Mataram’.

My conclusion on the show: I seek the blessings of the Lord, to give Guru Preeti all the physical, mental and emotional strength, to continue her dedication to dance, to her Guru, and her commitment and hard work toward her little students. I am confident, that these little stars, under her tutelage will glitter someday, on the vast sky, illuminating every soul who watches them, with a systematic and rigorous training, practice and discipline. These stars need our love, blessings and encouragement, at every step.

'P' stands for Preeti, Perfection, Promptness, and Poise.

Author: Rajini Shankar, Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
Copyright: Rajini Shankar

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