Natyanjali 2003

An evening of Indian classical dance presented by MIT Natya

Date: Thursday, October 2, 2003
Friday, October 3, 2003
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. Pushpanjali (Bharatha Natyam) - Sumati Ram-Mohan

    Pushpanjali literally means "an offering of flowers." In this Pushpanjali, the dancer seeks the blessings of Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, as an auspicious beginning of tonight's performance.

    Ragam : Sri Ranjani
    Talam : Adi

  2. Guru Vandana (Kathak) - Prachi Jain

    Guru Vandana is an invocational dance expressing love and respect for teachers. The dance conveys the meaning of the lyrics: " To Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe; to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe; to Lord Shiva, the destroyer of all evil; and to the teachers who teach the ultimate knowledge, I bow to you."

  3. Natesha Kauthuvam, Jathiswaram (Bharatha Natyam) - Aditi Garg

    Natesha Kauthuvam is a fast-paced dance in praise of Natesha, also known as Nataraja, the god of dance. Jathiswaram is composed entirely of pure dance movements, or nritta.

  4. Panchali Shabadam (Bharatha Natyam) - Rasika Kumar

    In the epic Mahabharatha, the wicked Kaurava princes wreak vengeance on the Pandavas. After Yudhistra wages Draupadi, his wife, and loses her in a game of dice, she is dragged to the court and is insulted by the Kauravas. As Duryodhana taunts her by inviting her to sit on his lap and Dushasana gleefully attempts to disrobe her, Draupadi appeals to Lord Krishna for her protection. Lord Krishna showers his compassion on her and causes her robe to become endless. Then, the mighty Pandava prince Bhima swears a terrible oath of vengeance against the Kauravas. Draupadi, too, quivering with rage, takes a terrible oath: "With Goddess Shakti as witness, in the confluence of Duryodhana's and Dushasana's blood, will I soak my tresses. Until then, they will remain unbraided."

    Lyrics: Subramania Bharati
    Music: Prema Ramamoorthy
    Choreography: Mythili Kumar


  6. Aadum Sivam Arpudhame (Bharatha Natyam) - Sripriya Natarajan

    This piece praises Lord Shiva, the God of Dance. He is the one with the river Ganga flowing through his matted locks. He is the compassionate one who is an ocean of mercy. He removes all of our materialistic thoughts. He is the great one who personifies the five elements: fire, water, air, earth, and ether. He is the one who brings happiness and strikes awe in all of his devotees - he who cannot be destroyed. He dances to said syllables and is worshipped by all sages. He rules from the eight corners of the world. He is the lord of the sabha, or earth, as well as the universe.

    Ragam : Revathi
    Talam : Adi
    Choreography: Smt. Vidya Subramaniam

  7. Jagadodharana (Bharatha Natyam) - Sheila Krishna , Priyanka Sundaresan

    The poet Purandaradasa tells of how mother Yashoda plays with baby Krishna, even though he is the lord of the universe. One day, Krishna steals his mother's butter, but when Yashoda admonishes him to open his mouth and show her the butter, he instead reveals the entire universe. On another occasion, Krishna playfully steals the clothes of the gopis, but when they implore him to return them, he blesses them as the mighty Jagodharana. It is with great bhakti, or devotion, and love that Purandaradasa writes these verses, and it is these emotions that the dancers hope to convey

    Ragam : kapi
    Talam : Adi
    Composer : Purandaradasa
    Taken from choreography by Smt. Asha Gopal

  8. Dasavataram (Kuchipudi) - Prahladh Harsha

    In this song, the artiste describes the dasavataram (ten incarnations) assumed by God Vishnu to protect dharma and destroy evil. The ten avataras; Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (boar), Narasimha (half-man; half-beast), Vamana (dwarf), Parasurama (the axe-wielder), Rama (the most noble of men), Balarama (the plow-wielder), Buddha (the compassionate one), and Kalki (the final destroyer); are a symbolic representation of the evolution of man. This is a vigorous and exhilarating dance with many sculpturesque poses.

    Ragam : Mohanam
    Talam : Misrachapu
    Choreography : Vempati Chinna Satyam

  9. Thillana (Bharatha Natyam) - Neera Jain, Sunita Sunderrajan , Bharatha Natyam cast

    The thillana is a traditional conclusion to a Bharatha Natyam program.

    Ragam: Madhuvanti
    Talam: Adi
    Director : Rasika Kumar

  10. 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


    • Punita Bhansali
      Punita is an MIT senior majoring in Brain and Cognitive Science. She began learning Bharatha Natyam at the age of 5 from Kamala Narayan. In high school, she trained under Manju Prasad Rao. She also has experience in other dance forms, including folk, western and fusion. Since her freshman year, she has been involved with MIT Natya.
    • Aditi Garg
      Currently a graduate student at MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Aditi has learned Bharatnatyam from Smt. Poornima Gururaja. She performed her Arangetram in 1999, and has performed with MIT Natya in past years.
    • Prahladh Harsha
      Prahladh Harsha is a graduate student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, working at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). 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.
    • 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 junior working toward her B.S. in Chemical Engineering.
    • Neera Jain
      Neera is a sophomore at MIT majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She has been performing Bharatha Natyam with MIT Natya since her freshman year and hopes to continue her involvement with the club while at MIT.
    • Shiela Krishna
      Sheila Krishna has learned Bharathanatyam for the past 15 years from Dr. Malini Krishnamurthi in Southern California. As a student of the Natyanjali School of Dance, Sheila had her arangetram in October 1998. After coming to MIT, Sheila has given performances with the Natyanjali School of Dance in the Southern California area and has danced with MIT Natya in the MIT Cultural Show and Natyanjali 2002.
    • Rasika Kumar
      Rasika Kumar is the daughter of Mythili Kumar and has been her student since 1987. She has performed in all of the Abhinaya Dance Company's productions since 1990 and also performed in touring engagements of the company in India and outside California. She performed her arangetram in 1996 and participated in the mothers and daughters production, Vande Mataram, in 1997. Her most recent lead roles for Abhinaya were in Mayiladum Alagan (1998), The Power of Saturn (1999), and Jagriti (2001). In addition, she has conducted classes for Abhinaya in San Jose since 1996. She has also been performing nattuvangam and narration for Mythili Kumar and Abhinaya since 1996 in the Bay Area as well as in Seattle and Spokane, Washington. In January 2003, she and her mother performed in numerous venues in Chennai, India as part of the annual dance and music season. Currently a senior at MIT, Rasika is studying to be a computer science major and is the President of MIT Natya.
    • 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 with Abhinaya Natya Sala include the dance ballets Paniru Maadham Bhavani Vizha and Vibeeshna Charanagathi, choreographed by Kalaimamani Smt. Krishnakumari Narendran. She was involved in the founding of MIT Natya, and previously served as president for two years.
    • Pooja Pathak
      Pooja Pathak studied Bharatha Natyam with Shri Nikunj Chowkshi and then Shri Sharad Pandya for many years, and graduated with an Arangetram in 1995. She has been involved in various dance performances with Natya for the past 3 years. Pooja graduated from MIT with an M.S. in Chemical Engineering and is currently working as a consultant with Bain & Company.
    • Sumati Ram-Mohan
      Sumati Ram-Mohan, a recent graduate of MIT, received her training in 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 participated in the professional productions Visions of Vyasa and Alankaram. Through her leadership roles of Treasurer, President and Vice President, she has helped to create and promote Natya since its inception. During the past four years, she has participated in all of Natya's performances, and hopes to continue her involvement this year as well.
    • Priyanka Sunderashan
      Priyanka has learnt Bharatha Natyam for 10 years from Smt. Asha Gopal, founder and director of the Arathi School of India-Dance, of Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently a sophomore majoring in environmental engineering
    • Sunita Sunderrajan
      Sunita Sunderrajan has received her training in Bharatha Natyam from the Kalasadan Dance Academy in Bombay, India. Currently she is continuing her training in Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi from Neena Gulati of the Triveni Dance Academy in Brookline. Sunita has enjoyed choreographing folk dances for school children in India. She holds a Masters Degree in Global Marketing and Advertising from Emerson College, Boston.


    President : Rasika Kumar
    Masters of Ceremonies : Punita Bhansali, Pooja Pathak
    Producer : Rasika Kumar
    Sound : Chandran Seshagiri
    Lighting : E33 Productions
    Funding : Rasika Kumar, Sheila Krishna
    Program : Sumati Ram-Mohan
    Web Page : Prahladh Harsha
    Ticketing : Sripriya Natarajan

    Special thanks to Anindita Basu, Haritha Bandla, and Alpana Waghmare.