30th Anniversary of Saint Thyagaraja Festival in Cleveland, Ohio 
- Jyothi Sreenath, Tampa, FL 
May 11, 2007 

ALL IN ONE - that is how I would describe my experience at Thyagaraja festival in Cleveland, Ohio.  I have been attending these occasions for the past few years.  This year's experience was one of my best in spite of ice, cold and snow!!  It was a full feast for my mind, eyes and ears.  

This year, along with music they had one complete day dedicated for dance. I was fortunate to attend the Bharatanatyam competition in which so many talented youngsters took part. The dance competitors had to be initially screened through a video clip, which was sent to India. Then the 21 competitors were chosen to take part in the competition. The amazing part of this whole event was that all the performers were dedicated youngsters who have done their arangetrams.  Each dance had a different theme to convey and thus did not become monotonous.  It was a pleasure to see these girls performing the various items. About 21 girls between the ages of 15 to 21 participated in the competition. Their facial expressions and their rhythmic movements were really superb. Of course the judges had a very difficult time choosing the winners, including the first prize winner.  So, the judges decided to have two first prize winners!!  One first prize winner happened to be Kanya Manoj from Atlanta, GA. The other first prize winner was Ranjani Murthy from Troy, MI. Both of these winners get to perform a solo recital in Chennai this music season. The second prize winner was Pooja Kumar from Cleveland, OH.  

I would like to thank the organizers V V Sundaram and others and also the parents of these deserving youngsters for having given us an opportunity to see such a wonderful dance program. In my eyes, each one of them was a winner in their own way. I wish them continued success in their future endeavors.   I would like to see many more of these types of dance and music programs by such talented youngsters. 
Ranjani Murthy
Pooja Kumar
Kanya Manoj
2007 Bharatanatyam Competition Results 

1st Place (Tied) 
Ranjani Murthy, Troy, MI 
Performed: Bho Shambho in Revathi (Adi) 
Gurus: B Bhanumathi, Sheela Chandrasekar, Bhavani Murthy, Sandhya Sree Athmakuri 

Kanya Manoj, Duluth, GA 
Performed: Swarajathi in Husseini (Rupakam) 
Guru: Savitha Viswanathan 

2nd Place 
Pooja Kumar, Westlake, OH 
Performed: Excerpt from varnam Vaaranamukhavaa in Natakurinji (Adi) 
Guru: A Lakshman 

The rest of the finalists were: 
Name City
Akshaya Ganesh  Fremont, CA
Anita Sivaraman  Hunt Valley, MD
Archana Ramgopal Pittsburgh, PA
Dhanya Chandramohan Bridgewater, NJ
Jyotsna Vinayak Franklin, MA
Lavanya Pradeep Syosset, NY
Malika Murali Orangeburg, SC
Mathura Sridharan  Strongsville, OH
Prerana Purohit Shrewsbury, MA
Priya Ramamurthy Canton, MI
Purvaja Ganesan Sugarland, TX
Radha Iyengar Murrysville, PA
Sanjana Ravi Naperville, IL
Shilpa Sethuraman  Plano, TX
Shriya Desikan Canton, MI
Kiran Rajagopalan Solon, OH
Krithika Rajkumar  Auburn Hills, MI
Vinidhra Mani Cupertino, CA