Several years of learning as well as seven months of intense rehearsals brought two young sisters to proficiency as they presented their first Bharata Natyam performance in Auckland last month.
The Arangetram of Varsha and Disha Gomathinayagam at the Playhouse theatre in Glen Eden on March 17 was a delight to hundreds of men, women and children, who formed a family of well-wishers.
Their Guru Rema Shyam Sunder said that the concert displayed the distinct Pandanallur style of dance.
“It also incorporated a culture that is particularly Tamilian,” she said.
The usual items were expressive, as the dancers interpreted and symbolised elaborate stories spanning tales of Gods, lost love and betrayal.
Starting the programme with ‘Pushpanjali,’ (set in Naattai Ragam and Adi Talam), the sisters presented a delectable version of obeisance to Lord Ganesha in the ‘Ganesha Pancharatnam’ format (Ragamalikai and Trishya Eka).
‘Sai Satcharita,’ a tribute to Shri Sai Baba (Shudda Saveri, Khanda Chapu), composed by Aravindh, was well choreographed, invoking piety.
‘Jathiswaram,’ ‘Padam’ and ‘Varnam,’ which are traditionally included in Bharata Natyam performances, were executed with poise and proficiency.
The second part of the Arangetram was replete with items that deserved encores. ‘Singara Velan,’ for instance, which eulogises Lord Murga was a testimony to not only the Guru’s professional calibre but also the pursuit of excellence by the danseuses. Set in Revathi Ragam and Adi Talam, the Dayanand Sarawati composition described the divine qualities of the God of the Tamils.
‘Sita’s Swayamwaram,’ composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman was among the highlights of the programme.
The Arangetram reflected the disciplined training and concern for artistic purity.
Varsha, a student of the University of Auckland, said, “Bharata Natyam has provided me focus and clarity in other parts of my life and has also made me realise, appreciate and value the art forms of other cultures and countries.”
Her younger sister Disha, a Mt Roskill Grammar School student paid tributes to her Guru on behalf of both in her brief address at the Arangetram.
“She initiated and cultivated our interest in Bharata Natyam. Doing the dances for so long taught us about our culture,” she said.
The debutantes were ably supported by Mrs Sunder (Natuvangam), Vidwan Diwakar (Vocal), Sam Swaminathan (Violin), Raman Easwaran (Mridangam) and Saketh Ram Vishnubhotla (Veena).