Eighth annual Bharatanatyam dance recital held  

Attended by over a hundred people, and performed by dancers of various skill-levels and ages – led by their teacher Ms Anuradha Ambalavanar, the Bharatanatyam Group of Christchurch showcased its eighth annual dance recital in Christchurch on April 8.

Ms Ambalavanar, originally from Sri Lanka, who started the school 12 years back, has trained under Vivek Kinra, Artistic Director of New Zealand Academy of Bharatanatyam and Mudra Dance Company, Wellington.

Describing the dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu as “the embodiment of music in visual forms”, Ms Ambalavanar informed, “Natyam 2017 had ten performances in all. First one was a prayer to Lord Ganesha who removes all obstacles, followed by a dance by our beginner students about Lord Krishna. In this, students depicted the story of Krishna fighting a serpent and his giving the Gita sermon to Arjuna during the Mahabharata war.”

The third act was about Goddess Parvathi. “This dance praised her avatar, Meenakshi, with dancing earrings, long hair, large eyes, and the singing parrot. The dance describes how she rules the city of Madurai, with her husband Shiva, who has the river, Ganga, flowing through his hair,” Ms Ambalavanar said. 

Another highlight was a performance by mothers of some students who did a mini Thillana – a dance act performed in praise of Lord Kartikeya (or Murugan) - the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, a much-revered deity in South India.

“This was the first time parents [mothers] of our students had taken part in our annual production,” she added.

Other acts included a dance on the popular Krishna song Rara Venu Gopa pala, Thodayamangalam praising Lord Vishnu, a Kriti about Goddess Kamakshi, and dance on the famous bhajan by Saint Tulsidas Shree Rama Chandra.

“Majority of the dances were choreographed by my guru Sri Vivek Kinra to whom I am very grateful,” Ms Ambalavanar further said.

 The last item of the evening was a vigorous Thillana in Hindolam Raga. This scintillating dance was full of vigorous footwork, fast rhythmic body movements and graceful sculptural poses.

“We concluded the show with a Mangalam where the dancers expressed their gratitude and respect to God, Mother Earth and the audience,” Ms Ambalavanar concluded.