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Just dance!

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Prithi Ashok Murthy stole the hearts of her audience at her recent arangetram

Sprightly and spirited, Prithi Ashok Murthy certainly radiated with happiness as she performed her arangetram under the mentorship of Gayatri Krishnamurthy on 22 April at Sydney’s NIDA Theatre.
Prithi Ashok Murthy
Very clear on the fact that her arangetram was merely a starting step on the road to a lifetime of learning and happiness, Prithi very fittingly began her recital with a Natesha Kauthuvam on the Lord of Dance, paying obeisance to all the deities that aid life and learning in the Natyanjali. Prithi then moved on to a Jathiswaram in thodi by Swathi Thirunal where all her bends and stretches brought to the forefront her meticulous attention to detail.
Prithi Ashok Murthy
The Varnam in Lathangi on Lord Muruga provided an ideal platform for Prithi to essay into the subtleties of abhinaya. The deceitful asura Soorapadman, Shiva burning manmada, the mixed emotions of love and fear in the story of Muruga winning the hand of Valli, were presented with its intricate nuances.

“My aim is to get a well-rounded understanding of Bharathanatyam,” says Prithi and she has definitely embarked on this journey with a flourish with her debut performance.

The second half of the performance saw Prithi presenting different stages in the life of Krishna through the three padams ‘Gummana’, ‘Madura nagarilo’ and ‘Yahi madhava’.

Prithi Ashok Murthy

The young boy Krishna pleading to his mother not to call the bogeyman and promising to be the ideal child, the youthful Krishna, tormenting the gopis with waylaying them, and the charming lover Krishna being chided by Radha to leave her alone as she has no use for him and his disloyalty. The spirit of Krishna as the charming, lovable thief that not only steals butter but steals all our hearts, was convincingly portrayed by Prithi who in her own way stole the hearts of her audience with these evergreen pieces.
Prithi Ashok Murthy
The Shakthi koothu and Thillana in ragam kunthalavarali brought the performance to an energetic finish, concluding with the meditative ‘Shiva panchakshara sthothram’. Guru Gayatri Krishnamurthy on nattuvangam, musicians Arjunan Puveendran with his deep resonant voice, Sindhuja Ganapathy with her honeyed melody, Krathi Kiran Mudigonda on violin, Thiviya Vignesh on the flute, and Bala Sankar Shastri on mridangam effectively supported Prithi by creating the right mood with their music to highlight her expression.
Prithi Ashok Murthy
“The two most important people to thank are my parents who believed in me and backed me every step of the way,” says Prithi gratefully.
These thoughts were resounded by guru Gayatri Krishnamurthy who rightly pointed out that Prithi’s parents Mrs and Mr Ashok Murthy, have danced to Prithi’s tunes to help her dance on stage.
“I hope I get the opportunity to dance a lot more and I would love to see Bharathanatyam in Sydney grow as a community,” opines Prithi, looking forward to dance with happiness along this path she has chosen.

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Hamsa Venkat
Hamsa Venkat is a keen explorer of the art form of Bharathanatyam and is a dancer from the Kalakshetra School of dancing in Chennai

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