Bharatanatyam, which is 2000 year old Indian classical dance form that originated in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India has today spread globally.After years of formal training, the student, with the blessing of her Guru, presents her debut solo performance on stage with great devotion called as Arangetram, which literally means ascending the stage. Arangetram is an important milestone for an aspiring dancer of Bharatanatyam.
While Arangetram has traditionally always been performed in India by the disciples of classical Indian dance forms, it is heartening to know that the Indian diaspora also celebrates Arangetram with equal dedication and devotion.
One such diaspora member, Vaidehi Bodhankar, who is a Singapore permanent resident is presenting “Nritya Kalanjali” her debut performance of Bharatanatyam Arangetram on Sunday June 27, 2021. Nritya Kalanjali is jointly organized by Global Indian Cultural Center and Apsaras Arts Singapore.
Singapore is a confluence of various cultures such as Peranakan, Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian. In fact one of the official languages of Singapore is Tamil. It is no wonder that mother of Vaidehi Bodhankar, Dr Wrushali Bodhankar, who moved to Singapore in 2004 decided to imbibe Indian values and culture in her daughter.
“As a child Vaidehi was always fascinated by our epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. So rather than enrolling her into any other dance form, I felt it was most appropriate for her to learn one of our classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, which will bring her closer to her roots even though we live away from India”, said Dr Wrushali Bodhankar.
Vaidehi started to learn Bharatanatyam at the age of 4 years and after formal training at the Global Indian Cultural Center for more than a decade, she will present Nritya Kalanjali.
“As a four year old, I used to read a lot of Amar Chitra Kathas, which my father used to buy for me during his trips to India. I was quite fascinated by the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata. I never imagined that I could live these stories through my dance and the more I learned about the mythological stories, the more I learned about the mudras and expressions. I started understanding the essence I have to capture through my dance. Bharatanatyam is not just dance but an amalgamation of our rich culture and traditions” said Vaidehi, when asked about what inspired her to take to Bharatanatyam.
Vaidehi further added, “Global Indian Cultural Center also gave me opportunities to present my talent and passion at temples and at events such as Indian Independence Day, Singapore National Day, and Chinese Lunar New Year. It was an honor to receive these opportunities to showcase not only our rich Indian cultural heritage but also play a part, even if very small, in promoting racial & religious harmony in Singapore.”
A number of well-known Indian musicians such as K, Hariprasad, V. Vedakrishnaram, J.B. Sruthi Sagar, Easwar Ramakrishnan and K.S. Balakrishnan recorded special track for Nritya Kalanjali. Vaidehi was trained for her Arangetram by her Gurus – Shri Mohanapriyan Thavarajah, Ms Seema Hari Kumar and Ms Gayathri Chachithanandar. Vaidehi is currently a grade 10 student studying in an International school in Singapore.
About Nritya Kalanjali:
Bharatanatyam Arangetram of Vaidehi Bodhankar
Date : 27th June 2021
Time : 3:00 pm India time
Guest of Honour : Mr. Edwin Tong SC (Minister for Culture, Community & Youth and Second Minister for Law)
Global Indian Cultural Centre (GICC) is a non-profit organisation of the Global Indian Foundation. Established in 2002, GICC is committed to the propagation of the rich and varied cultural heritage of the Indian sub-continent and designed to provide an ideal learning environment to the diverse communities in Singapore. Through specific initiatives tied to Indian culture and tradition, GICC provides an enriching educational experience that goes beyond academic horizons. The centre is well-known within Singapore’s community for offering a broad range of activities spanning the disciplines of performing arts including Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak classical dance forms, Carnatic and Hindustani classical vocal and instrumental classes including Flute and Keyboard. The Yoga programme started in 2005, in an effort to bring communities together, has seen remarkable participation of over 10,000 people, at GICC campuses over the years.
About Apsaras Arts:
With over four decades of international track record in creating and showcasing innovative dance productions, Apsaras Arts was founded as a teaching institution in Singapore in 1977 by Singapore’s pioneers in arts - Mr. S. Sathyalingam and Mrs. Neila Sathyalingam, alumni of Kalakshetra Foundation, India. Today, Apsaras Arts has transformed into a premier professional performing company and has gained recognition in Indian dance-theatre on an international level, enjoying successful performances in Singapore and abroad. The company has created a repertoire of innovative dance productions, which are performed regularly by the company’s full-time professional dancers.