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My Arangetram - “Just the Beginning”

As said several times, an “Arangetram” is the beginning of a dancer’s career, but to get

there is a journey that should be very much enjoyed. My journey to my Arangetram was a long but fun one. I began in August of 2016. My dance mate, Mashia Mazumder, was getting close to

her Arangetram. I was informed that I will be doing my Arangetram next. I was very excited. I began practicing with Selvi Aunty all through summer. She explained that my Arangetram would contain a theme of "Gods and their Chariots".

I began with the Varnam which was a unique composition. I felt that I excelled with fast

pieces so Selvi Aunty choreographed all of my pieces to my strengths. Once I knew all of my pieces, I felt comfortable with them. The practicing continued and it was a little hard to balancedance with all of my other activities, like school, violin, and tennis. I learned that I had to leave more way for dance as I was entering a higher stage in my arangetram. I still knew that my academics were very important, so I had to learn to balance all of my activities.

By December of 2016, I learned that I needed to be more expressive in my pieces. This

was one of my hardest challenges in my entire dance passion. By March end, I had finished learning all of my pieces. Now all I had to do was keep practicing, that is what I thought. I soon learned that I had to improve a lot not only in my expressions, but in my postures and dancing itself.

Dance was not the only thing going on during this time. I am in seventh grade, a very

important year for my academics. This is the first year that High schools will be looking at

academic wise. I was also excelling in my science fair project. I was nominated to go to the

California State Science Fair. This was a huge accomplishment, but it did mean having to go to LA for a couple of days. This did mean that I would have to work even harder in order to keep up with my dancing. I chose to go to LA and I won third.

When I came back, I knew that I had a lot to work on. Selvi Aunty had arranged a group

of ladies to watch my dance and comment on it. All of them had told me that I needed

tremendous work on my expressions. I needed to connect with the piece more. So that week, all I did for practice was listen to the music. After I had understood every single word, I felt confident in performing the pieces.

Another thing I had to worry about, was not getting hurt. If I had gotten hurt, that would

have been a huge set back.

As June 10 was getting closer, the number of hours of practice started increases. I soon

found out that as practice came longer than two and a half hours, I would feel very tired. Selvi Aunty suggested that I start drinking Powerade, that helped very much. I was feeling very energized.

The last week before my arangetram, the orchestra arrived. I was a little nervous about

rehearsing with them because I wasn’t sure how well it would go. Despite this, I still danced how I normally would. The first three days of rehearsal went well. Then we brought in the emcees on the tech rehearsal day and then we had dress rehearsal. On the day of the tech rehearsal, things went exceptional.

After the tech rehearsal, my legs were purple. At first I assumed the color of the costume

came onto my leg. After I went home, my mom and I iced it and put Bengay. The next day,

Friday, it was still purple. My legs were feeling numb. Luckily, I didn’t have to do much in terms of dance that day.

Friday, June 9, was the last day of school as well. I wanted to stay back with my friends,

but I had to make a compromise and leave at 4:30. Then the day came, my arangetram. I decided that I should just enjoy this day. It is a once in a lifetime event and I wanted to make it memorable. There were some hiccups along the way, but I got through them. I listened to what both Selvi and Lavi Aunty said. They told me that if I forgot anything, I should take a pose and act like that’s how it’s supposed to be.

There were several people that helped me through this. First it took a perfect

Bharathanatyam foundation to be able to do this. All of the advice Selvi aunty gave me, helped immensely. Throughout the entire time that I have been with her, she has always welcomed me. She has made sure that I am doing well and that nothing was bothering me. I knew she always thought of me. Without my dance foundation, none of this would be possible. Several people other also helped me through this. Selvi aunty, Lavi aunty, Raji aunty, Menaka aunty, Jyothi aunty, Valli aunty, and Archana aunty, and of course my family. It took good listening on my part to get me here.

The journey it took me to get there was a long and hard one, but that journey is still not

over yet. My dance journey had only just started.

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