Scintillating Bharatanatyam by Shivangi and Aninditha Nagarajan
- Melattur S Natarajan

October 4, 2016

Fascinating abhinaya and lively footwork marked Shivangi Nagarajan and Aninditha Nagarajan's Bharatanatyam arangetram at Festival Place, Sherwood Park, AB Auditorium in Edmonton on August 27, 2016. The sisters are blessed with charming face and commendable stage presence. They skillfully displayed nritta (pure dance), captivating abhinaya (expression) consummating maturity in performance beyond their age. The sisters stole the hearts and minds of the packed audience; in short their performance surpassed expectations of a typical arangetram.

Shivangi holds a Commerce degree from MacEwan University and Aninditha is pursuing her undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta. Shivangi and Aninditha began their artistic journey in Dubai. Since their move to Canada they continued their training in the Mysore bani under Malavika Venkatasubbiah, artistic director of Natyam Dance Academy in Edmonton and Calgary. Coincidentally, this is the first arangetram for Malavika Venkatasubbiah and it is heartening to see the dancing sisters are being moulded into fine dancers by Malavika.

The program commenced with soulful rendering of Shiva stuthi in raga Naattai invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer, followed by Narayana Kriti (Bowli) and Jathiswaram (Devamanohari adi), which were executed to perfection. The next number "Kanchadalaya Dakshi" in Kamalamanohari, a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar took the audience to spiritual joy. The well choreographed composition by Malavika was beautifully presented by Shivangi and Ananditha with sculpturesque poses and elegant chaaris depicting goddess Kamakshi. The highlight of the evening, varnam in ragam Kamboji, not only showcased the sisters' proficiency in nritta and abhinaya, but also demonstrated their stamina and maturity in handling this demanding item with such ease and perfection. The jatis aptly recited by Malavika were very pleasing with varied gathis, sharp and gripping.

The post intermission saw two lively padams, presented solo by Shivangi and her sister. The final nritta piece was the tillana in ragam Poornachandrika set to adi tala, choreographed by Malavika. Comprising fast paced scintillating footwork set to different nadai or rhythmic cycles, was sparklingly executed by Shivangi and Aninditha. Following the tillana was a short finale "Obeisance to Sage Bharata" which touched the hearts of the audience.

The meticulous training imparted by Malavika was clearly visible in the sisters' performance, which was a testimony to their dedication, hard work, passion for perfection and involvement in Bharatanatyam. The debut would not have been so successful but for the outstanding live accompaniment. Besides Malavika on nattuvangam, it comprised of Dr. Deepak Paramashivan (a globetrotter) on vocal, N Narayanaswamy on mridangam, Kaushi Sivaramakrishnan on violin and Raman Kalyan on flute.

Melattur S Natarajan is a Bharatanatyam guru and the director of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Jayanti Bhagavata Mela Natya Nataka Sangam. The splendour, exuberance and purity of the Bhagavata Mela tradition is maintained in tact today by Melattur Natarajan's troupe.