The Wellington-based Natraj School of Dance is all set to enthral audience on Saturday, November 10, at the Little Theatre, Lower Hutt, when another student of the school will perform Arangetram – a dance that marks the graduation ceremony of the artiste to perform publicly before an audience.

Thirteen-year-old Radha Raman will be facing probably one of the most decisive challenges and also a defining moment in the life of a student within any traditional Indian schools of dances where they are required to rise up to the expectations of their dancing gurus.

Arangetram is the debut on-stage performance of a student of Indian classical dance and music. This is first performance following years of training.

Arangetram literally means – ascending the stage – however over a period of time the dance-performance has come to be known as a presentation of a dancer by the proud Guru to the rest of the world.

(Photography by Ruchika Jain)

Speaking to The Indian Weekender, Prabha Ravi, the Guru and the founder of the Natraj School of Dance said, “Miss Raman has undergone several years of training to perform her Arangetram.”

“She is an Ethnic Indian Gujarati, Year Nine student at Chilton St. James School, and started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of six,” Ms Ravi said about her disciple.

“She is a very talented and gifted dancer who has performed for several events and festivals in Wellington including events at the New Zealand Parliament,” Ms Ravi added.

However, dancing is not the only form of art that excites Miss Raman. Outside of school and dance, she also learns violin, piano, flute and vocal music keeping her very busy.

Natraj School of Dance founded in 1999, is a Lower Hutt based Indian classical dance school established by Mrs Prabha Ravi – Founder, Director and Choreographer in 1999.

(Photography by Ruchika Jain)

The school has students from different ethnic backgrounds and age groups who have featured in Wellington, Auckland, Manawatu and Rotorua dance performances.

Every year, the school puts on a dance production providing an opportunity for the students to perform in public creating public awareness of the two different styles of Bharatanatyam (Pandanallur style and Kanchipuram Ellappa style).

Miss Raman is the sixth student graduating from this school since its inception.

Images by Ruchika Jain- Photography by Ruchika