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Harini Indrakrishnan’s Arangetram: A Feast for the Eyes


When I got ready to watch the Bharatanatyam Arangetram of Harini Indrakrishnan, I had no idea that I had stumbled upon a gold mine. It was not a debut performance at all, but a professional dance recital at the Gwinnet Performing Arts Center in Duluth, on August 6, 2011.

Harini revved up for the performance with the traditional Mallari in Gambheera Naattaiset to Khanda Triputa taalam followed by a Ganesha Stuti. She then went on to perform Kodhai Kavuthuvam in praise of Andal which was well choreographed by her Guru Smt. Subathra Sudarshan. The description of Andal’s story from her childhood to her marriage with Lord Ranganatha was portrayed extremely well. The Nritta Swaraavali
that followed demonstrated the efficiency in Harini’s footwork to synchronize with the swaraas and jathis that were beautifully set.

The highlight of this arangetram was an absolutely new Nrithyopahaaram (Varnam) based on the Tamil classic “Silappadhigaaram”, which was in raagamalika set to aadi taalam. This fine piece was conceptualized by Smt. Radhika Shurajit with the lyrics written by Smt. Revathy Shankaran to the musical composition of Shri. T. K. Padmanabhan and Shri. Sudev Warrier. The dancer narrating the story of Kannagi was so skillfully choreographed by Harini’s Natyacharya Smt. Subathra Sudarshan. Harini
showed her mettle in both nritta and abhinaya to a very high professional standard.
Her sensitive expressions were able to hold the audience with awe throughout the long varnam. One could easily tell that Harini has received a meticulously rigorous training in Bharatanatyam from her teacher Subathra.

The latter half of the arangetram opened with a very engaging padam on Lord Muruga, “Enna Kavi Paadinaalum”, where the poet longs for Lord Muruga’s blessings and repeatedly pleads for his attention. The poet implores Lord Muruga that no matter how much the poet pours his heart out in song, Muruga’s heart does not seem to melt. This padam brought forth Smt. Subathra Sudarshan’s impressive choreographic talent. Once
again, the dancer was able to show her ability for intricately communicative abhinaya.
The keerthanam, “Kaal Maari Aadiya”, that followed was on Lord Nataraja in the Meenakshi temple in Madurai who is represented uniquely with the right foot raised as opposed to the usual left foot in performing His cosmic dance. This number in the repertoire gave a lot of opportunity for Harini to show her excellent training in nritta.

All good things must come to an end and so did this awesome debut Bharatanatyam performance of Kum. Harini Indrakrishnan with Nrittaangahaaram (Thillana), a composition of Sri Oothukkaadu Venkatasubbaiyyar in Gambheera Naattai set to aadi taalam and choreographed by Smt. Subathra Sudarshan. This piece describing the
dance of Krishna on the hood of the snake Kaaliya had a tempo matching the energetic dance of the Lord compared to the ever-tiring antics of Kaaliya, which was portrayed very beautifully by Harini.

Krishna Kumar (KK) made a fine emcee and was extremely professional in explaining every item in the repertoire so well that even a layperson could understand and appreciate the performance. He can easily replace the made-up dolls that present such programs without knowing what they are talking about!

Harini’s arangetram had one of the best orchestral support with Shri. Sudev Warrier on vocal, Shri. K. S. Sudhaman on the mridangam, Shri. A. P. Krishna Prasad on flute, Shri. Papanasam K. Gokul on violin, Smt, Priya Chandrasekharan on veena, and Smt. Subathra Sudarshan on Nattuvangam.

The entire performance was graced by Subathra’s Gurus Shri. V. P. Dhananjayan and Smt. Shanta Dhananjayan who blessed Harini and everyone associated with the performance. Smt Padma Rasiah Cantu, Artistic director of the Fine Arts Society of Yogaville at Satchidhanda Ashram, Virginia, was a special guest at the event.

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