Welcome To Shriya’s Bharatanatya Arangetram

Information on Shriya Srinivasan’s Indian Classical dance debut, including brief overview of what is Bharatanatyam,  Arangetram and Program Details.

5:00 PM ET, Saturday, June 25, 2022, Montgomery Twp, NJ


Bharatanatyam is an ancient classical dance form originating in south India with roots stretching back beyond two thousand years. Legend has it that the Gods & Goddesses pleaded Lord Brahma to create another veda which would be easier for the common man to comprehend. It is believed that considering this request, Lord Brahma created the Panchamaveda, or fifth veda, Natyaveda, an essence of the other four vedas. He took Pathya (words) from the Rigveda, Abhinaya (gesture) from the Yajurveda, Geet (music and chant) from Samaveda and Rasa (sentiment and emotional element) from Atharvaveda to form the fifth veda, Natyaveda. Following the words of Lord Brahma, sage Bharata wrote Natyashastra or the Science of Dramaturgy, a vast, comprehensive work on the science and technique of Indian drama, dance and music.

In Indian mythology, Lord Shiva is considered as the supreme lord of dance. This divine art form is performed by Lord Shiva & his consort, Goddess Parvathi. The Dance performed by Lord Shiva is known as Tandava, which depicts his violent nature as the destructor of the universe. The dance performed by Goddess Parvathi is known as Lasya, in which the movements are gentle, graceful and sometimes erotic. Some scholars call Lasya as the feminine version of Tandava.

Bharatanatyam is evenly divided between three elements Nritta (Rhythm), Nritya (combination of rhythm and expression) and Natya (dramatic element). Over the centuries, this art form has evolved with the times, from being practiced and patronized by the Kings and Emperors in royal courts and temples to its revitalization in the early 19th century by the Tanjore Quartet who organized the dance form into its present shape and robust structure. The brothers composed new music specifically for the dance, and introduced different sequence of items which integrated the various aspects of dance and music into a carefully coordinated and aesthetically sound progression. This infusion of creative energy marks the early 19th century as one of the most dynamic and innovative periods in the history of Indian dance. 

The immense contribution of E Krishna Iyer, Udayshankar, Rukminidevi Arundale and Balasaraswathi to contemporary Bharatanatyam in the 20th century, cannot be understated.  

“I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday.”

    — Misty Copeland

    "We dance with our bodies, but we finally forget them and transform them.“

      — Rukmini Devi Arundale

      Indian theosophist, dancer and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, and an activist for animal rights and welfare

      “The moment is everything. Don’t think about tomorrow; don’t think about yesterday: think about exactly what you’re doing right now and live it and dance it and breath it and be it.”

        — Wendy Whelan

        American ballet dancer

        “Many people have said many things. I can only say I did not consciously go after dance. It found me.“

          — Rukmini Devi Arundale

          Indian theosophist, dancer and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, and an activist for animal rights and welfare

          “There’s nothing wrong with fear; the only mistake is to let it stop you in your tracks.”

            — Twyla Tharp

            Dancer, choreographer, and author


            Arangetram is a Tamil word for the debut performance of an artist. Aranga meaning raised floor and Etram meaning climbing on. It is also called Rangapravesha in Kannada, another south Indian language, Ranga meaning  Stage and Pravesha meaning enter. After undergoing intensive Bharatanatyam training under the guidance of an accomplished guru, this is the occasion for the proud guru to present his/her disciple to the public. As this is a major milestone in the disciple’s training, a guru will usually require 8-10 years of training prior to agreeing to the Arangetram.   

            Accompaniments play a major role in the making of a memorable dance performance. Basic accompaniments are a Singer, Mridangam player, Violin player and the Natuvangam. Veena, Flute and other instruments are optional. The artist will be bedecked in jewelry and special make-up and resplendent silk dresses. The artist requires considerable focus and stamina to perform at his/her peak for close to 3 hours. The performance is divided into two halves. In the first half the artists generally perform Pushpanjali or Alaripu, Jatiswaram, Shabda, and Varnam. This is followed in the second half by Padam, Ashtapadi, Tillana and Mangalam. 

            "Dance is the hidden language of the soul"

             – Martha Graham