Unique cultural program at MahaSivarathri celebrations

Soudaryalahari by students of Dr Burra Hemalatha
Soudaryalahari by students of Dr Burra Hemalatha

CHICAGO: Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple in Aurora organized a devotion-filled cultural program on Saturday, March 5 in the temple auditorium celebrating MahaSivarathri

“Om NamahShivayah” was a unique program consisting of chanting of slokas, classical music and dance performances by featured artists, professional teachers of Chicagoland and their senior students. The classical Indian dance forms of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi were presented in the Veluchamy auditorium.

The event began with a fervent invocation – Lingashtakam, Ananda Natamaduvar and Siva PanchakshariStotram by young students of Smt. Devaki Janakiraman of Noopura Dance Academy. Students of Smt. Rama Gurupalli of Rama Advanced Music Academy rendered Sambhomahadeva, Mamavasadajanani and Mahaganapatim and students of Smt. Maragatham Mani of Ganalahari School of Music and Culture rendered Bhajans on Lord Siva.

An exquisite Bharatanatyam performance by Swetha Ravishankar from Portland, Oregon was embellished with grace and expertise. She explored the romantic love of mother Parvathi for Lord Siva.
Soorya Dance School under the artistic director Jinoo Varghese presented Ardhanareeswara, a beautiful ragamalika, depicting the union of Lord Siva and Mother Parvathi. Mudra Dance Academy students gave an energetic and inspiring performance of Siva Stuti and Natarja Natanam, with beautiful Siva costumes. Students of Mahalakshmi Varadhan of Noopura Dance Academy presented BhoShambho, Nataraja Anjali and Ardhanarishwara Stuthi, which was well received.

Bharatanatyam by Madhavi Reddi of Washington DC was next . With finesse and passion she presented beautifully choreographed pieces – Siddi Vinayakam, Adidum Arase and Shankara Shrigiri.

Sushmita Arunkumar of Nrithyanjali School of Dance gave a thrilling presentation of the thunderous descent of river Ganga from her celestial world on to the earth and how Lord Siva effortlessly contains her in his locks, in Thungatarangegange. Her students presented Natamadum Nadanadi with ease.

There was a vibrant Kuchipudi performance by Aparna Satheesan, artistic director of Samyoga from Indiana. With beautiful expression and precise footwork, she presented Ganesha Pravesha Daravu and Ganapathy Kauthuvam in praise of Lord Ganesha and Shiva Stuthi where she explored the stories of Markandeya, and Tripurasura and the swallowing of halahala by Lord Siva.

Dr Hemalatha Burra, a Sanskrit scholar and a retired professor of Sri Satya Sai University, India, made a unique sloka presentation. While her young students rendered Ardhanareeswara stortram and Sivatandava stotram with accurate pronunciation, amazing discipline and musical precision, a group of ladies chanted beautifully Adi Sankara’s Soundaryalahari with English commentary.

Pabitra Pradhan’s Odissi dance was captivating. His grace of movement, energetic foot work, astounding sense of balance as he rendered Sivapanchaka and Panchabhuta captivated the audience.

Students of Sowmya Kumaran of Nrithyasangeeth presented Kapalini beautifully which was well appreciated. Nrithya Geethanjali Dance Academy students presented Deva Stuthi and Idadupadam with great ease and beauty. A special mention of the item AndanalInivarumo by Pravalika Bhagavatula, a special needs child, was appreciated by one and all. This was followed by the concluding presentation of Guru Poonam Mahesh of Nrityanant Performing Arts, and her students showcasing Siva Kirtanam and Sambhostuti. The beautifully coordinated costumes were pleasing to the eye and the dance was enthralling.

Welcome words and vote of thanks were given by Viji Susarla, co-chair of the cultural committee.
Balaji temple cultural committee will be hosting a classical vocal concert by Vidwan Sikkil Gurucharan on March 19, 5 pm at Veluchamy Auditorium.

Asian Media USA

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