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ANDAL'S GARDEN: Part 1

December 30, 2020

Anita Ratnam and Narthaki.com present ANDAL'S GARDEN, Andal's TIRUPPAVAI 30, a series of curated performances celebrating the spirit and poetry of the only female Azhwar, Godai, for 30 days from December 16, 2020. These 30 poems or Pasurams, are brimming with imagery, imagination, and innovative metaphors influenced by the naturescapes of the Sangam era and Andal's own knowledge of the Bhagavatham.

ANDAL is for everyone. Her 9th century voice was among the earliest of the female mystic poets to flood this land. ANDAL'S GARDEN - where Carnatic music meets Kathak, Mohiniattam, Kathakali, Odissi, Kuchipudi and of course, Bharatanatyam. Original music, freshly filmed videos in the outdoor, shorn of extra ornamentation and focusing on the poetry and the mood of the Margazhi season.

Art by KESHAV - ©krishnafortoday & Keshav
Translations by Priya Sarukkai Chabria - 'ANDAL: Autobiography of a Goddess'

THIRUPPAVAI #1
MARGAZHI THINGAL

Sudharma Vaithiyanathan (Bharatanatyam)

@sudharmaaa

Bejewelled gopi-girls, each a jewel, enhance your sparkle
by bathing in his luminescence full as the moon
against indigo skies. Lance-bright his eyes, bright his lance
that glides through fear. Bathe in the river of devotion

of the lion cub, Yashodhara's joy, our single star.
His home is here, where we gather, the time is now,
this Margali month. Come, pledge your life to radiance.


Sudharma Vaithiyanathan, a promising and young talent in Bharatanatyam, is a disciple of A. Lakshman and is one of the frontliners in her generation of dancers. Her intuitive sense of timing, clean lines, dignified execution, mindful expressions combined with grace, perfectly chiselled nritta and aesthetics backed with talent, has metamorphosed her from an earnest student to a confident dancer.



THIRUPPAVAI #2
VAIYYATHU VAAZHVEERKAALL

Hamsa and Mayura Balagurunathan (Bharatanatyam)

@ hamsabalagurunathan / @ _m.a.y.u.r.a_

People of the world we sing blessings on all.
Cold the sleek-dawn river into which we plunge
forsaking the tongue's pleasures in milk and
ghee, for our taste is for Him, who lulls the cosmic ocean's

bubbling stars. We forsake flowers for his fragrance,
forsake kohl and adornments to serve others.
We swear ourselves to seeking grace.


Mayura and Hamsa are the third generation of dancers carrying on the legacy of their grandmother Krishnaveni Lakshmanan of Kalakshetra. They are the twin daughters of dancer/teacher V. Balagurunathan and actively take part in various productions of Krishnanjali Academy. They are both academically strong and have keen interest in music and Kalaripayattu. Currently both of them are in the final year of their under-graduation.



THIRUPPAVAI #3
ONGI ULAGALANDHA

Priya Murle (Bharatanatyam)

@priyecharusheele

With two strides, He covered the three worlds. Us
He will succour. The monsoons shall never fail; golden paddies
will tousle the wind, in stilled water amidst sprouting seeds
bright carp will leap, lotuses will rock bees to sleep and

our cows will bear udders so heavy our small hands can't
enclose its milky seep. All prosperity is ours. Come
promise yourselves to his benediction.


Priya Murle, a Bharatanatyam dancer from the Thanjavur bani, is a student of Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy. A performer, teacher and choreographer, Priya has done her research in the Rasa theory of Indian Aesthetics. Hailing from an artistic family, Priya has a multifaceted approach to her art enhanced by her experiences in Indian theatre (folk) traditions and classical music.



THIRUPPAVAI #4
AAZHI MAZHAI KANNA

Madhu Nataraj (Kathak)

@madhunatarajdance

Rain clouds dark as His skin, do part; reveal Him
as you dive to drink the ocean's sacrament. Shower
as you rise. Lightning mimics His discus flashing
from his glorious shoulders; thunder - the victory
call blown through Valampuri's nacre. Pour benedictions
dense as arrows from His Sarangi bow. In His plenitude
we rejoice. May we flourish as we take this oath.


Award winning choreographer, artpreneur, curator and educator - Madhu Nataraj dons many hats with grace and dynamism. She heads India's premier dance education centre, The Natya Institute of Kathak & Choreography, and is the Founder- Director of the very innovative STEM (Space. Time. Energy. Movement) Dance Kampni.



THIRUPPAVAI #5
MAAYANAI MANNUVADA

Jayaprabha Menon (Mohiniattam)
Jayasree Sankaran (Mohiniattam)

@ jayaprabhamenon / @jayasreesankaran

Jayaprabha Menon

Jayasree Sankaran
The Prince of Madurai, Damodaran, lord of illusion, flame
of his mother's womb, the clans and the temple's! He haunts
Yamuna's spotless banks where we stand. Discard delusion:
offer Him the flowers and fragrances of our hearts, serve

our body's honey as ablution for his feet. As cotton in fire
our misdeeds will burn, those of the future will blaze
away to illumine our minds' cave. Come, make this vow.


Mohiniyattam exponent Jayaprabha Menon is the Founder Director of International Academy of Mohiniyattam, New Delhi. A recipient of Kalashree Puraskaram from Sangeet Nataka Academy, Govt of Kerala, she has been part of many multi-style choreographic presentations produced by ICCR, Ministry of Culture, Central Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Starting from the young age of three, Jayasree had her basic training in both Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam from her first teacher Kalamandalam Bhagyalakshmi for almost 10 years. Over the past several years, she has been training under the guidance of Gopika Varma. Ever since, she has emerged as a promising performer and has given performances all over India.



THIRUPPAVAI #6
PULLUM SILAMBINA

Pavitra Bhat (Bharatanatyam)
Dr.Rathna Kumar (Kuchipudi)

@Pavitra_krishna_bhat / @chetked2

Pavitra Bhat

Dr.Rathna Kumar
Awaken! Birds begin their dawn song; the conch calls
from Vishnu's temple, winged Garuda's lord who sucked

poison like mother's milk and killed the rolling cart-demon.
Sages praise the Primal Cause whose joy saturates

beyond far flung stars. His name pulses
in inhaled air. Hear it echoing in your heart.


"Clarity and geometry marked this slim dancer's movements, while his footwork was powerful," said The Hindu. Termed as an effortless dancer with precise movements, Pavitra Bhat has been appreciated for his pure dance and sensitive abhinaya by critics, connoisseurs and peers.

Dr. Rathna Kumar is the Artistic Director of Texas' first Indian dance institute, Anjali Center for Performing Arts, founded in 1975. She is an exponent of both Bharatanatyam (Guru K.J. Sarasa) and Kuchipudi (Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam), and has studied Padams under Mylapore Gowri Ammal. Rathna is a Teaching Artist with the Young Audiences of Houston and Dance Instructor at Rice University. Rathna is also the Artistic Director of Samskriti, a nonprofit presenter organization of the classical art forms of India.



THIRUPPAVAI #7
KEECHU KEECHU

S Vasudevan (Bharatanatyam)

@vasudev.sridhar

Awaken! Blackbirds screech. Bangles jingle
as women churn buttermilk. Cream rises. Whey falls

away while their perfumed hair swish like fans
at His feet. We lift our voices to the Sapphire

Radiance whose locks tangle stars. Buried
gem, unlock your heart's belled door to His call.


Music-Dance-Poetry are synonymous to the Mind-Body-Spirit trilogy and to Vasudevan, this is so relevant a system of Art. His inheritance from his Masters is these previous gems of Thought Process and Art of Application. As a Bharatanatyam dancer and Carnatic musician, he believes to explore within these gems and experience through practice.



THIRUPPAVAI #8
KEEZH VAANAM

Hema Rajagopalan (Bharatanatyam)

@ natyahema

Awaken! Dawn nibbles the edge of the sky.
Buffaloes graze dew-tipped grass. Others wait
to bathe in His grace. Make haste! He's ripped
the demon horse's throat and wrestled evil till it cried

surrender. If we, mouth overflowing with song,
beseech rapture He will flood us in beauty.


Hema Rajagopalan is a Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher and choreographer committed to preserving the art form in its full integrity while developing it in new directions for diverse audiences. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Natya Dance Theatre Chicago, USA which celebrated its 45th anniversary this year. She has received the EMMY award and seven National Endowment for the Arts Choreography award (the highest number given to an individual) in the US and the Vishwa Kala Bharathi by Bharat Kalachar.



THIRUPPAVAI #9
THOOMANI MAADATHU

Mythili Kumar (Bharatanatyam)
Sudharma Vaithiyanathan (Bharatanatyam)

@abdanceco / @sudharmaaa

Mythili Kumar

Sudharma Vaithiyanathan
Awaken! You sleep in a sparkling hall surrounded
by lamplights that strum incense vapours. Clear

your heart's chamber! Aunt, is your daughter rapt
by the world's glitter? Why is she insensate

though we chant His glory? Inspire
her to ascend past the Illusionist's play.


Mythili Kumar (Artistic Director of Abhinaya Dance Company) is an accomplished artist who performed extensively in India before moving to the U.S. in 1978. She was honored by World Arts West with a Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2010 and received a "Sustained Achievement Award" by the Bay Area Isadora Duncan Award committee in March 2011. In 2015, she was awarded the Legacy Laureate Award from SVCreates, in Silicon Valley.

Sudharma Vaithiyanathan, a promising and young talent in Bharatanatyam, is a disciple of A. Lakshman and is one of the frontliners in her generation of dancers. Her intuitive sense of timing, clean lines, dignified execution, mindful expressions combined with grace, perfectly chiselled nritta and aesthetics backed with talent, has metamorphosed her from an earnest student to a confident dancer.



THIRUPPAVAI #10
NOTRU SUVARGAM

Divya Goswami (Kathak)

@divyagoswami.kathak

Awaken! Devotion flings open heaven's expanse.
Answer, rupture your dark door. Rare jewel

are you in a stupor? As Kumbakarna slid
down death's throat did he slip you his gift

of demonic slumber? The scent of holy tulsi flows
from above. Star strewn is our luminous abode.


Born into the family of the legendary Hindu philosopher of Vedant, Swami Raam Teerth, Divya Goswami holds Kathak to be her way of life. She is a disciple of Lucknow Gharana of Kathak and has received guidance from Guru Munna Shukla and Yogini Gandhi. Bestowed with the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, Divya is an ICCR and SPICMACAY empanelled artiste, and also a TedX speaker. Dance for Divya is each moment lived with complete abandon and total surrender.



THIRUPPAVAI #11
KATRU KARAVAI

Vandana Supriya (Odissi)

@vandanasupriya_kasarvalli

Awaken! Snakewaist girl, prance
the enchantment: as wild peacocks

shimmer steps to lightning-nerved air,
call to thunderheads of your love.

At your threshold we hymn His magic
and call you fortunate one, to dance.


Vandana Supriya Kasaravalli is an Odissi dancer from Bangalore. She has honed her skills under the tutelage of Guru Bichitrananda Swain. She runs an organisation called Anandi Arts Foundation, which works with kids from underprivileged background.



THIRUPPAVAI #12
KANAITHU ILAM

Ramya Ramnarayan (Bharatanatyam)

@ramyaramnarayan

Awaken! Auspiciousness floods. Remembering
their calves, cows stream milk. At your door we wait
our hair running dew, milk slush around ankles, drenched
in love, for His home is yours too. The world startles

recalling His compassion in beheading the ten
headed demon. Rise from petrifaction; you are one of us.


Ramya Ramnarayan is a protégé of two exponents of Bharatanatyam, S.K. Rajarathnam Pillai and Kalanidhi Narayanan. She is a gallery artist with Pentacle, roster artist with Young Audiences of NJ, Eastern PA and empanelled artiste with ICCR. An A grade artist with Doordarshan, she has performed widely in India and USA. Her awards include Kalaimamani and Nadanamamani.



THIRUPPAVAI #13
PULLIN VAAI

Janani Murali (Bharatanatyam)

@jananimurali15

Awaken! The morning star ascends, the evening star
descends. Dawn fills birds and us with song. We sing

of His slaughter of disharmony by demon
and beast. Look, maidens plunge into His cool

river of grace. Girl with eyes that shame
the lotus' beauty, shed shyness. Join us.


Janani Murali is a performer, writer and dance educator based in Bangalore. Associate Artistic Director of Padmalaya Dance Foundation, her creative pursuits as performer and educator are informed by her ongoing work in inter-disciplinary environments. She traverses with equal earnestness between the worlds of the Margam and Contemporary formats.



THIRUPPAVAI #14
UNGAL PAZHAKKADAI

Sukruti Tirupattur (Bharatanatyam)

@sukruti.dance

Awaken! The white lily of the night closes. The red
lotus of day opens. Ascetics in sunrise robes and ash-

white teeth blow pearly conchs at temple doors.
We've kept our promise of dawn worship.

You promised to herald the lotus-eyed Lord.
Are you worse than a parrot that mimics our vows?


Sukruti Tirupattur, an alumnus of Kalakshetra Foundation, is a Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher from Bengaluru, currently working in Toronto. She runs Temple Street Dance Academy that focuses on making dance and Indian culture accessible to cross culture kids. Sukruti has been associated with Arangham Dance Theatre, Chennai and now with Nova Dance, Toronto as a dancer, artistic interpreter and digitization project lead.



THIRUPPAVAI #15
ELLEY ILANKILIYE

Krithika Rajagopalan (Bharatanatyam)

@krithika_rajagopalan

"Emerald parrot, are you still asleep?"
"Sisters, your shrill speech grates. Patience, please!"

"Parrot, we know your squawks well enough!"
"I'll let your vile words pass. Have all appeared?"

"Save you, we're here." "Then my elated
screech joins your hymn to His cosmic play!"


Yesterday's Andal is forever
in every today
and more importantly
in every tomorrow.
Find her,
she will take you
to sing in joy,
In love
In energy with every soul
uniting to sing his praise.
- Krithika

Krithika Rajagopalan, daughter/disciple of Hema Rajagopalan, is an actor, choreographer, performer, voice over artist, collaborator, TedTalk Junkie, and a student for life. She is the teacher and principal dancer at Natya Dance Theatre, San Francisco Bay Area.


Part 2


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