Vijitha Satkunanathan presents an impressive bharatanatyam debut
Bharatanatyam arrangetram. These two words spark a small fear within a dancer.
Doubts creep in, shivers run down the spine. It’s like a major exam! But to overcome the trepidation and perform an entire set of items to a mass of more than 300 people, is incredible.
In her arrangetram, Vijitha Satkunanathan showed us the determination, persistence and ambition of a dancer wanting to make herself, her family and her guru proud.
A disciple of Smt. Yalinit Thirulogan, Vijitha’s arrangetram at the Alexander Theatre at Monash University, marked a stepping-stone in her artistic journey. It signified the opening of doors for her as an artiste.
Grace and femininity, as well as strength and control, marked Vijitha’s recital that night.
Each step executed with precision and practice, she gave us evidence of her full understanding of the three elements of Bharatanatyam, nritta, nritya and natya. (These stand for, in order, the demonstration of rhythm through graceful body movements; explanatory dance where lyrics are conveyed by means of hand gestures and facial expressions, and the drama by means of which an entire story is narrated in full).
Vijitha truly shone under the lights as she brought the stories of the gods to life.
Gracing this event was Adem Somyurek MP, State member for the South Eastern Metropolitan Region, and Brahmachari Gautam also known as Gautam Ji from Chinmaya Mission.
Gautam Ji inspired us with his words as he explained what dancing really is and how it can help us through life, a philosophy that the star of the moment, Vijitha, no doubt stands by.
Picture perfect with amazing costume choices and pleasing makeup, her fluent grace and beauty were breathtaking and her performance left us in awe.
Vijitha performed more than nine pieces and did them all justice. Opening with a felicitation of Lord Ganpathy, she prayed, through dance, for the removal of any obstacles from this auspicious event.
The item ‘Saranam Ayyappa’ (ragam Reethigowlai and talam Adi), was of her particular significance, given that it was written by her grandfather Dr Rajaratnam Sithamparapillai.
She exhibited passion, beauty and grace through the swift movements of her hands and the powerful beat in her step.
Vijitha took our breath away in this particular number that meant a lot to her and her family.
The ‘Jathiswaram’, composed of pure dance movements demonstrated the dancer’s skills and coordination beautifully.
‘Nallur Kanthan Palamai’, a song praising the glorious Lord Murugan, who brings endless joy to his devotees with a sighting of him in the Nallur Temple, adorned with his victorious vel (divine spear) and glimmering jewels.
In the ‘Varnam’, an item requiring concentration, devotion, elegance and grace throughout, Vijitha proved very capable. Each beat and step was carefully calculated, each movement of the hand filled with purpose, each pose as sturdy as a statue, and each look powerful and meaningful, as she told the audience the story.
This piece encompasses many complex components of Bharatanatyam.
This ‘Varnam’ showcased the navarasa (the nine emotions) – sringaram (love), hasyam (laughter), karunyam (compassion), raudram (anger), veeream (bravery), bhayankam (fear), bibhatsam (disgust), atputham (amazement) and shanthan (peace) – to the various emotions of the highly revered Goddess Shakthi.
In the slow-paced numbers that focused on the bhavam, the patham allowed Vijitha to shine through, as her expressions were flawless. She simply caught our attention, never letting it waver.
The accompanying artists brought together the entire arrangetram, filling the theatre with music that took us to a land far beyond.
Vocalist Sri Ahilan Sivanandan, violinist Sri V Suresh Babu and Dr Maal Marugan Yoganathan on the mridangam left us at a loss of words. They are among the best in Australia and all over the world.
The start of an energetic, enthusiastic performance signalled the beginning of the ‘Thillana’.
This dance, traditionally the last piece in a repertoire, is a vibrant sequence of intricate and complex rhythmic patterns, and with it, Vijitha showed that as a dancer she has truly come into her own.
In the concluding number ‘Mangalam’, Vijitha paid her respects to her family, friends, Guru, and the orchestra, completing her arrangetram with flying colours indeed.