Natyanjali 2002

An evening of Indian classical dance presented by MIT Natya

Date: Friday, September 20, 2002
Saturday, September 21, 2002
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Little Kresge Auditorium, MIT
Tickets: $5 MIT, $7 Non-MIT
To reserve tickets, please email natya-tix[at]mit[dot]edu

Natyanjali, which literally means "an offering of dance," is our annual program devoted to showcasing the variety and beauty of traditional classical Indian dance. This year's event features dances by MIT students and affiliates in Bharatha Natyam, Kuchipudi and Kathak styles.


  1. Invocation (Bharatha Natyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi) - Prahladh Harsha, Sumati Ram-Mohan, Alpana Waghmare

    The dancers begin the program by offering prayers to Nataraja, the Lord of Dance; Vinayaka, the Remover of Obstacles, Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning and Mahalakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity.

    Mugdha Velankar (Hindusthani Vocal), Sripriya Subramaniam (Carnatic Vocal),
    Ramachandran Balakrishna (Violin), Rasika Kumar (Nattuvangam).

  2. Sita Swayamvaram (Bharatha Natyam) - Rasika Kumar

    This piece presents an excerpt from the great Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Sita's father, King Janaka, has proclaimed that he who lifts the mighty bow of Shiva will win his daughter's hand in marriage. Many kings arrogantly approach the great bow in hopes of winning the lovely Sita yet are unable to do so and leave the hall in shame. The great demon-king Ravana attempts to wield the bow, and even he is humbled by its strength. Finally, the noble Rama comes forth, and with the blessings of the gods and his guru, he lifts the bow with ease. As he bends down to string the bow, it breaks with a sound that echoes in the three worlds. Sita is overjoyed, and the two are wed with pomp and splendor.

    Invocation Composed by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman
    Lyrics from Tulsidas' "Ram Charita Manas"
    Choreography: Smt. Mythili Kumar

  3. Rang Manch - Coloring the stage (Kathak) - Alpana Waghmare

    An invocational piece depicting the Hindu personal form of worship known as puja. The dancer consecrates the stage using hand gestures (mudras ) to show the offering of water, flowers, incense, and garland, with bell and oil lamp. Sandalwood paste is placed on the forehead of the deity to symbolically awaken the inner or third eye. Respectful acknowledgment is given to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who represent the cyclic process of Creation, Preservation, Dissolution/Re-creation. This item ends with a chakradhar featuring Kathak spins.

    Tenn Taal
    Accompanied by: Meenakshi Verma (recitation), Sharareh Barjrachary (recitation), Naveen Goela (Tabla)

  4. Ranjani Niranjani (Bharatha Natyam) - Sheila Krishna

    This piece invokes Devi as the protector of mankind.She is the one who saves Kama, the God of love, from Shiva's anger. She is the bejeweled one, the omniscient one, the consort of Shiva.

    Ragam : Ranjani
    Talam : Adi

  5. Varnam (Bharatha Natyam) - Sripriya Natarajan, Sumati Ram-Mohan

    A varnam, meaning "color," alternates the pure dance steps and expressions intrinsic to Bharatha Natyam. The expressive verses in this varnam describe the dancer's devotion to Lord Nataraja, the God of Dance.

    Ragam : Nattakuranji
    Talam: Adi
    An abridged version of choreography by Smt. Jothi Raghavan


  7. Koluvaithiva Rangasayi (Kuchipudi) - Anindita Basu, Prahladh Harsha

    This song, a composition of the famous poet Sri Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, is an excerpt from the ballet Vipranarayana Charitram. This is a devotional song which offers praise to Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam. Here the dancers describe the beautiful form of Sri Ranganatha as he reclines in the Srirangam temple. They wonder if even a thousand eyes are sufficient to admire the beauty of the Lord and His enchanting consort Sri Lakshmi. The devotees then seek the blessings of the Lord.

    Ragam : Ramapriya, Mohanam
    Talam : Adi

  8. Jagadodharana (Bharatha Natyam) - Radha Kalluri

    In this dance, a woman expresses wonder at her friend's enraptured dancing and drumming. This Kannada composition, by D.V. Gundappa is inspired by an ancient temple sculpture in Beluru, of a dancer holding a drum over her head.

    Ragam : Attana
    Talam : Adi
    Composer : D V Gundappa
    Choreography : Aparna Sindhoor

  9. Tarana (Kathak) - Prachi Jain

    Tarana creates the atmosphere of an Indian court, where everyone loves to experience the rhythms and graceful movements.

    Teen Taal
    Choreography : Pandit Birju Maharaj

  10. Thillana (Bharatha Natyam) - Aditi Garg, Vidya Lakshmipathy , Sangita Shresthova

    Performed in the South Indian classical dance style of Bharatha Natyam, the thillana is a vivacious and energetic piece filled with intricate footwork and sweeping hand gestures which bring out the internal beauty and joy of the dance. The dancers' distinct poses resemble the scuptures carved on the temples of India while the complicated steps mimic the sounds of the mridangam, the South Indian percussion instrument.

    Ragam : Tilang
    Talam : Adi
    Composer : Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman
    Choreography: Rasika Kumar

  11. Mangalam

    The mangalam, the concluding piece in a South Indian dance recital, is performed in a spirit of gratitude for the welfare and prosperity of the world.

    Ragam: Sourashtram, Madhyamavati
    Talam: Adi


  • Ramachandran Balakrishna
    Ramachandran Balakrishna is a graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and is pursuing his doctoral research with the Intelligent Transportation Systems program at MIT. He learned to play the violin from Sri Nagarajan (a disciple of violin maestro Lalgudi G.Jayaraman), and subsequently from Madurai Sri P.V.Raghavan and Sri K.V.S.Vinay.
  • Sharareh Barjrachary
    Sharareh has began studying kathak under Gretchen Hayden-Ruckert over three years ago. She has recently begun teaching a kids kathak course through the Chhandika School of Kathak Dance.
  • Anindita Basu
    Anindita is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Media Lab in the Future of Learning Group. She first started performing at age three with Bengali folk dance, then studied ballet, tap and jazz for nine years. She began her study of Bharatha Natyam when she was seven with Smt. Natyakalavathi Jaya Mani and had her Arangetram at age 13. She started studying Kuchipudi at 15, under Dr. Kamala Reddy, a disciple of Padmabhushan Vempati Chinna Satyam. Anindita has performed extensively in the eastern United States. Natyanjali 2002 is her third performance with MIT's Natya group.
  • Aditi Garg
    Currently an MIT senior majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and minoring in Bio-Medical Engineering, Aditi has learnt Bharatnatyam from Smt. Poornima Gururaja. She performed her Arangetram in 1999.
  • Naveen Goela
    A senior at MIT, Naveen has been playing tabla for over ten years in dance shows, fusion collaborations, classical recitals, and solo performances. Under the guidance of George Ruckert of the MIT music faculty, he has practiced sarode, vocal, and dance accompaniment. He is a past Emerson music scholar, and a recipient of the Peter J. Eloranta Fellowship for the study of tabla. Over the past summer, he has become the humble student of Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri,a master artist and teacher at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in San Rafael, California.
  • Prahladh Harsha
    Prahladh Harsha is a graduate student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, working at the Laboratory for Computer Science. Inspired by his mother, he started to study Kuchipudi under Sri. Easwar Prasad, a disciple of Dr. Shobha Naidu. (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh). He then continued his training during his undergraduate years at IIT, Madras, under the guidance of Padmabhushan Vempati Chinna Satyam at the Kuchipudi Art Academy, Madras. He is presently learning Kuchipudi under Dr. Kamala Reddy (Pittsburgh, PA), a disciple of Padmabhushan Vempati Chinna Satyam.
  • Vidya Lakshmipathy
    Vidya Lakshmipathy has learnt Bharatha Natyam under Mythili Kumar, the Artistic Director of the Abhinaya Dance Company. She has preformed in many of Abhinaya's company performances and had her arangetram in 1997. She is currently a second year Masters student at the MIT Media Lab.
  • Prachi Jain
    At age six Prachi Jain started her study of Kathak at the Nritya Jyoti School of Kathak in Minneapolis, MN under the guidance of her Guru Rita Mustaphi, Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj and his disciple Saswati Sen. Prachi has performed in several of Pandit Birju Maharaj's productions nationwide and continues her love of Kathak here at MIT where she is an active member of Natya. Prachi also enjoys exploring other forms of Indian dance such as bhangra, folk and film dancing. She is a sophmore working toward her B.S. in Chemical Engineering.
  • Radha Kalluri
    Radha is currently training in the Mysore style of Bharatha Natyam at the Navarasa Dance Academy (Somerville, MA) under Ms. Aparna Sindhoor. She previously trained under Mrs. Day (Ranchi, India) and Mrs. Jothi Raghavan (Lincoln, MA). Her recent performances include dances at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center and the Cambridge International Day. Radha is a MIT graduate student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences Program of the Division of Health Sciences and Technology. She was involved in founding Natya and is currently co-President.
  • Shiela Krishna
    Shiela is a sophomore majoring in Biology with a minor in Spanish and Biomedical Engineering. She has been learning Bharatha Natyam since the age of five and gave her arangetram in 1998.
  • Rasika Kumar
    Rasika Kumar has learnt Bharatha Natyam under the tutelage of Mythili Kumar, the Artistic Director of the Abhinaya Dance Company since 1987. She has performed in most of Abhinaya's productions since 1990 as well as in touring engagements of the company in India and outside California. She performed her arangetram in 1996 and has held many lead roles in the company's productions since. She has also performed nattuvangam for Mythili Kumar in the Bay Area as well as in Seattle and Spokane, Washington. Rasika is a junior majoring in Computer Science wth a minor in Biomedical Engineering. She has choreographed and performed in MIT's annual South Asian Culture Show and also participated in last year's Natyanjali festival.
  • Sripriya Natarajan
    Currently a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Sripriya Natarajan has been a student of Abhinaya Natya Sala (Ellicott City, MD), under the tutelage of Smt. Revathi Kumar, since the age of 13. She gave her Arangetram in 1996 and her latest performances include the dance ballets Paniru Maadham Bhavani Vizha and Vibeeshna Charanagathi. She was involved in the founding of MIT Natya, and previously served as president for two years.
  • Sumati Ram-Mohan
    Sumati Ram-Mohan, a senior at MIT in Brain and Cognitive Science, has been learning the Vazhavoor style of Bharatha Natyam from Smt. Jothi Raghavan. She began her training at the age of 7, and completed her Arangetram (solo dance debut) in 1998. Since then, Sumati has performed with Boston's Academy of Indian Performing Arts in professional productions such as Visions of Vyasa and Alankaram. Sumati continues to pursue her passion for dance at MIT through her involvement with Natya, by organizing events, choreographing, performing, and teaching Bharatha Natyam. Through her leadership roles of Treasurer, Co-President and Vice President over the past 3 years, she has helped to create and promote Natya since its inception.
  • Sangita Shresthova
    Sangita dances in the styles of Bharat Natyam, Nepalese dance (Charya Nritya), Kalaripayat (South Indian martial art) and Sri Lankan (Kandyan) dance. She has performed classical and new choreography in Sri Lanka, India, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Nepal. Sangita initially trained in Nepalese Dance in Kathmandu, and later completed her Bharat Natyam studies under Smt. Malathi Srinivasan in Chennai, India. She explored modern dance theory, choreography and techniques as a Dance and Theater Certificate student at Princeton University. Sangita resumed her study of Kalaripayat and Bharat Natyam while working with the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad, India. She continued her study and performance of Kalaripayat with Valabhatta in Brussels, Belgium. Sangita is currently a graduate student at MIT in Comparative Media studies and dances with the Boston based Lasandhi Dance Theater.
  • Sripriya Subramaniam
    Starting at the age of four, Sripriya Subramaniam has learnt Carnatic music for over 17 years. She has had her advanced training under Smt. Kaveri and more recently with Smt. T R Balamani. She has given several performances in Mumbai, Calcutta, and Bangalore. She has performed instensively in the New England area and has given several lecture demonstrations on Carnatic music. She has also performed in various cultural events in the greater Boston area.
  • Mugdha Velankar
    Mugdha started learning Hindustani classical at the age of nine from Pt. Dutta Kerkar and later from Smt. Neelatai Ghanekar, in Bombay. Presently, she is continuing her vocal training with Smt.Swati Panda, of Shrewsbury. Currently, she is working at a biotech company in Cambridge.
  • Meenakshi Verma
    Meenakshi Verma has been studying Kathak for 5 years with Gretchen Hayden-Ruckert, a disciple of Pandit Chitresh Das. Meenakshi is an intermediate level dancer with Chhandika School of Kathak Dance and teaches children's classes at the Dance Complex in Cambridge. Currently a Director of a non-profit asthma education program, Meenakshi resides in Allston.
  • Alpana Waghmare
    Alpana has been studying kathak for 3 years under Gretchen Hayden-Ruckert, disciple of Pandit Chitresh Das. As an intermediate dancer in the Chhandika School of Kathak Dance, she also teaches beginner kathak classes at MIT. She is currently in her senior year, majoring in biology.


Co-Presidents : Radha Kalluri, Alpana Waghmare
Executive Board : Prahladh Harsha, Rasika Kumar, Sumati Ram-Mohan
Masters of Ceremonies : Avantika Modi, Pallabi Sanyal
Sound : Chandran Seshagiri and MIT Audio Visual
Lighting : E33 Productions
Stage Manager : Pooja Shyam Pathak
Lighting : E33 Productions
Funding : Sumati Ram-Mohan, Sangita Shrestova
Program : Prahladh Harsha
Publicity : Prahladh Harsha, Radha Kalluri, Sumati Ram-Mohan
Ticketing : Sripriya Natarajan
Logistics : Radha Kalluri, Alpana Waghmare
Photography : Holden Cheng, Ryuji Suzuki
Videography : Andrew Sempere, Arnan Roger Sipitakiat
Decorations : Rasika Kumar, Aditi Garg, Sheila Krishna, Prachi Jain

Special thanks to Sonal Bhatt, Avantika Modi, Pallabi Sanyal and Rajul Shah.

Link to the Natyanjali - MIT Home Page Graphic and Graphic Credits

This web graphic was designed by Andrew Sempere, a graduate student at the Media Lab, with assistance from Anindita Basu, Prahladh Harsha and Radha Kalluri.