Natyanjali 2007

A night of Indian classical dance presented by MIT Natya

Date: Monday, February 19, 2007
Time: 6:00 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.


  1. Pushpanjali - Chandni Valiathan, Charuleka Varadharajan

    "Pushpanjali" literally means 'an offering of flowers'. This item is traditionally peformed at the start of a Bharathanatyam show, where the artists salute the gods, their gurus and the audience.

    Ragam: Nattai
    Taalam: Adi

  2. Slokam - Jayanthi Jayakumar , Samiksha Nayak, Shriddha Nayak, Amrita Saigal, Jayodita Sanghvi, Chandni Valiathan

    This dance is composed of prayers to the Lord Ganesha (the remover of obstacles), Saraswathi devi (goddess of wisdom and music), Lakshmi devi (goddess of wealth) and Lord Shiva (the god of destruction and the god of dance).

    Ragam: Ragamalika
    Taalam: Adi

  3. Ganapathi Kauthuvam - Jayanthi Jayakumar, Radha Kalluri, Samiksha Nayak, Shriddha Nayak, Amrita Saigal, Jayodita Sanghvi, Chandni Valiathan, Charuleka Varadharajan

    This dance is a prayer to Lord Ganesha, son of Parvati and Shiva and the remover of obstacles. Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. This is an fast-paced invocatory dance where the dancers offers their prayers to the Lord Ganesha and seeks his blessings to make the event a success. In a Kauthuvam, chollukattus (rhythmic syllables) are intertwined with the lyrics of the song. Thus it has both nritta (footwork) and abhinaya (expressions) components in its choreography.

    Ragam: Nattai
    Taalam: Adi

  4. Todaya Mangalam - Samiksha Nayak, Shriddha Nayak

    The "Todaya Mangalam" is an invocatory dance piece which combines descriptive prayer (abhinaya) and pure dance set to drum syllables (nritta). This piece in praise of the God Vishnu and his earthly incarnations begins with a description of Rama in Khanda Chapu (5 beat rhythmic cycle). The second and fouth stanza set in tala Misra Chapu (7 beat cycle) and Rupakam (3 beat cycle) respectively, describe the glory of Lord Venkateshwara. The third and fifth stanzas, each set to Adi tala (8 beat cycle), describe Krishna.

    Ragam: Ragamalika
    Taalam: Taalamalika

  5. Jathiswaram - Chandni Valiathan

    A "Jathiswaram" is a pure dance presentation, devoid of any abhinaya (emotions), in which, intricate sequences are fused with repetitive musical notes. The dance deals with the execution of adavus (basic steps) and mudras (hand gestures), combined in definite groups. Jathis (rhythmic pieces danced to narrated syllables) are executed combining swara passages (musical scores) in a particular raga and tala.

    Ragam: Vasantha
    Taalam: Adi

  6. Tana Varanam - Radha Kalluri, Charuleka Varadharajan

    A "Varanam" is the longest and most important item in a Bharathanatyam recital, and is a test of the dancer's stamina and skill in all aspects of the art. The first part of a Varanam contains many stories, which are interspersed with complicated jathis (rhythmic pieces danced to narrated syllables). This particular Varanam is in praise of the Lord Vishnu, the second god in the Hindu Trinity; and the god of protection. The first story will describe the 'Gajendra Moksham' where Lord Vishnu rescues an elephant devotee from a crocodile. A second piece depicts Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) reciting the Bhagavad Gita to inspire Arjuna to fight the war against his evil cousins. The last part shows Lord Krishna, the handsome and lordly cowherd, playing with gopikas (female cowherds), who dance to the melodious music of his flute.

    Ragam : Behag
    Taalam : Adi
    Language: Sanskrit
    Composer: T.R. Subramaniam
    Music sung by: O.S. Sridhar
    Choreography: Smt. Jayalakshmi Eshwar


  7. Padham - Govindan Kuzhal Osai Kaettu - Amrita Saigal

    "Padhams" are slow, deep abhinaya pieces, which are mostly based on stories of love and are indicative of the dancer's ability to express a range of human emotions. This piece talks about the mesmerizing effect of "Govindan Kuzhal Osai" - the music from the flute of Krishna. The poet says when the grazing animals hear the music they are so mesmerized that they forget to graze. Birds who are secure in their nests fly out of the safety of their nests and bees forget to suck honey out of flowers. When they hear the music, young maidens are filled with unbridled joy. Their hearts, filled with love, they wander around seeking the Lord.

    Ragam: Ragamalika
    Taalam: Adi
    Composer: Guru Kameswaran
    Music: Dr. Balamurali Krishna

  8. Padham - Yethanai Sonnalum - Gayathri Srinivasan

    "Yethanai Sonnalum" tells the story of a mother (the Nayika or heroine) scolding her daughter who has left her husband after fighting with him. She advises her daughter to reconcile her differences with her husband and to live a happy life with him.

    Ragam: Saveri
    Taalam: Adi
    Language: Tamil

  9. Tham Tha Dhinam & Kummi - Jayanthi Jayakumar, Samiksha Nayak, Shriddha Nayak, Amrita Saigal, Jayodita Sanghvi, Chandni Valiathan

    The first part of this dance describes the adored child Krishna, asking him to come quickly to those who pray to him. The second half is a lively kummi, a traditional Tamil folk dance, where women dance around in a circle and clap their hands rhythmically. This particular kummi has been choreographed with Bharathanatyam steps.

    Ragam: Mand
    Taalam: Adi
    Composer (Bega Baaro): Vadiraja Swamy
    Language: Kannada
    Music sung by: O.S. Sridhar
    Choreography: Gayathri Srinivasan

  10. Thillana - Gayathri Srinivasan

    A fast and lively dance, which traditionally concludes a Bharathanatyam recital.

    Ragam: Amritavarshini
    Taalam: Adi

  11. Mangalam

    A short traditional farewell item, thanking the audience. It is performed in a spirit of gratitude for the welfare and prosperity of the world.

    Ragam: Sourashtram
    Taalam: Adi


  • Jayanthi Jayakumar
    Jayanthi Jayakumar is a first year undergraduate student at MIT thinking about majoring in Biological Engineering. She started learning Bharathanatyam when she was around four years old in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, under a guru from the Kalakshetra dance institution. She has performed in dance shows every year and she is joining Natya after about 7 years of break from Bharathanatyam.

  • Radha Kalluri
    Radha would like to thank her friend and mentor Gayathri Srinivasan for her wonderful instruction and unflagging support. Radha was trained in the Mysore style of Bharatha Natyam at the Navarasa Dance Academy (Somerville, MA) under Ms. Aparna Sindhoor. She previously trained under Mrs. Resha Day (Ranchi, India) and Mrs. Jothi Raghavan (Lincoln, MA). Radha recently finished her graduate degree from MIT's Division of Health Sciences and Technology. She is one of the original founders and a past Co-President of Natya.

  • Samiksha Nayak
    Samiksha began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 11 under Guru Lata Pada, of the Sampradaya Dance Academy in Toronto, Canada for two years. She continued her training under Guru Dr. Sudha Raj, a professor at Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York. She completed her arangetram with her sister in June 2004, and gave a performance in India that summer. Samiksha is currently a freshman at MIT.

  • Shriddha V Nayak
    Shriddha began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 12 under Guru Lata Pada, of the Sampradaya Dance Academy in Toronto, Canada for two years. She continued her training under Guru Dr. Sudha Raj, a professor at Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York. She completed her arangetram with her sister in June 2004, and gave a performance in India that summer. Shriddha has been involved with Natya for 2 years and has performed on several occasions including last spring’s Bharatanatyam recital, Mudra. Shriddha is a sophomore at MIT majoring in Chemical Engineering.

  • Amrita Saigal
    Amrita began her dance training at the age of 5 under the tutelage of Smt. Ranjani Saigal (Burlington, MA). She recieved additional training from Smt. Kausalya Srinivasan (Chennai,India) and performed her arangetram in September of 2002. Amrita is the recipient of the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts honorable mention award. Amrita has performed throughout the United States and India and was the lead dancer in two major dance dramas, Dancing into Orbit and Dancing Nature's Art, in which the story of DNA was told through Bharatanatyam. Amrita is currently a freshman at MIT, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

  • Jayodita Sanghvi
    Jayodita began learning Bharathanatyam when she was 5, and continued taking lessons through her senior year of high school. She would like to thank her loving teacher Indumathi Ganesh of the Nrithyollasa Dance Academy, in Fremont, California. Jayodita has danced with Natya since 2003, and enjoys various forms of dance including Garba Raas and Salsa. She is a senior at MIT, studying biology, biological engineering, and management.

  • Gayathri Srinivasan
    Gayathri Srinivasan was trained in the Kalakshetra style of Bharatha Natyam by Jayalakshmi Eshwar from Abhinay-Dehli and by Krishnaveni Lakshmanan from Kalakshetra-Madras. Gayathri is interested in all dance styles and in applying their influence to her choreography. Besides Bharatha Natyam, Gayathri has been trained in jazz, social dance, and some folk dances of India. She enjoys teaching and developing new choreography, and is currently pursuing her post-doctoral studies at MIT in the Biology department.

  • Chandni Rajan Valiathan
    Chandni Valiathan started her training at the age of 3 under Natyaratna Smt. Geeta Umesh in Kenya, and later continued her training in the Nritya Mihira dance school under the guidance of Dr. Hema Govindarajan. She has performed in numerous shows and won national level Bharatha Natyam competitions in Kenya. During her undergraduate studies at Brandeis University, MA, she choreographed and performed dances in annual south Asian cultural shows. Chandni is currently a second year graduate student at MIT in the Computational and Systems Biology program.

  • Charuleka Varadharajan
    Charu is a student of the Kalakshetra style of Bharathanatyam and is currently taking lessons from Smt. Gayathri Srinivasan. She began her Bharatha Natyam training at the age of 4 and has previously learnt from Smt. Radhika Shurajit (a disciple of Sri. Dhananjayan) in Madras, India. Her involvement with Natya started in Spring 2004, and she has been its President since 2006. She has performed in various events at MIT and the Boston area, including the award winning 2004 dance drama "Ramayana", and the 2006 Bharathanatyam show "Mudra". Charu is a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT.


Co-Presidents : Shriddha Nayak & Charuleka Varadharajan
Masters of Ceremonies : Anila Sinha
Sound : MIT A/V
Lighting : E33 Productions
Publicity : Jayanthi Jayakumar & Jayodita Sanghvi
Photography : Sriram Krishnan
Program : Samiksha Nayak & Chandni Valiathan
Web Page : Namrata Verma
Poster : Chandni Valiathan
Ticketing : Amrita Saigal & Radha Kalluri
Funding : MIT UA Finboard