Written by Anusha Kambhampaty, SyossetJericho@antonnews.com Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:00
Indian tradition is kept alive in New York as 16-year-old Manasa Pisipati, a student at the Nritya Saagaram Dance Academy in Syosset, performs a three-hour solo classical dance performance.
Pisipati graced the stage on Aug. 31 at the Flushing Hindu Temple Auditorium in Queens, performing eight intricate dance pieces in the South Indian dance style known as Bharatanatyam.
Bharatanatyam is the oldest of all the classical dance styles in India, originating over 2,000 years ago. While other Indian dance styles have been influenced by British colonialism or Muslim rule, Bharatanatyam has remained largely untouched. Bharatanatyam pays homage to Hindu deities through mimed story telling as well as statuesque poses and complex footwork. It is known for its grace, purity and tenderness.
Accompanied by a renowned orchestral ensemble consisting of vocals, traditional drums, known as the tabla, violin, flute, and cymbals, Manasa debuted her extensive dance training to an audience of hundreds. This solo dance presentation is known as an ‘Arangetram,’ which literally means to ascend the stage. It marks the student’s introduction as a dancer as well as a sort of graduation from the years of rigorous training needed to execute such a physically and mentally taxing performance.
Her teacher, Satya Pradeep, who runs the Nritya Saagaram Dance Academy, trained her for the past eight years.
Maintaining grace, composure and maturity throughout the recital, Manasa charmed the audience with her expressive facial expressions and brisk postures. The performance opened with a tribute to the elephant headed deity, Lord Ganesha, set to melodic traditional classical music that was coupled with Manasa’s rhythmic dance steps and elegant movements.
Paying homage to her Indian roots, Manasa brought to life various stories of Hindu deities that have immense cultural and religious significance to Indian Americans. For example, Manasa portrayed several of Lord Krishna’s childhood pranks, which Indians have grown up listening to, such as Krishna teasing women by stealing their clothes. Manasa received standing ovation for her performance by the spellbound audience.