Isha Parupudi’s Incomparable Arangetram


Photos: Amitava Sarkar


By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: Isha Parupudi, a sophomore at Clear Springs High School, captivated and mesmerized the audience at her recent spellbinding Bharatanatyam Arangetram, conducted by her guru Rathna Kumar, Founder-Director, Anjali Center for Performing Arts.

Beginning with   Tridevastuti, an unusual invocation to three deities, Ganesha, Hanuman and Krishna, Isha then continued with a flawlessly executed Jatiswaram containing a series of intricate footwork patterns emphasizing technique. Nityakalyani proved to be a perfect Varnam for the expressive Isha. This elaborate and very strenuous dance told many stories about the greatness of the Goddess Devi and truly reflected the degree of expertise Isha has acquired, not only in  the art form itself, but also in memorization and stamina. Isha did ample justice to the dance with her beautiful Abhinaya (facial expression) displaying subtle nuances of various emotions. Brahma Kadigina Padamu, Annamacharya’s evocative description of Vishnu as Vamana and Sri Rama, was performed with immense depth and maturity, and Shambhu Natanam, Patanjali’s tribute to his beloved Shiva-Nataraja, revealed Isha’s excellent control over complex footwork and difficult poses which reminded one of  South Indian temple sculptures. Thyagaraja’s Niravadhi Sukhada, depicting Sri Rama as the savior of Ahalya, the beloved of Sita and the builder of the bridge to Lanka, was followed by a beautifully rendered Tillana in 6 beats, bringing Isha’s recital to a glorious close. Isha’s passion for dance and perfection were reflected throughout, in each and every dance, and her ravishing smile and impeccable performance made one want it to go on for some more time.  Little wonder that her Guru had taken such pains to choreograph all of Isha’s seven dances especially for her, keeping  in mind her student’s superlative talent.


Enhancing Isha’s performance at every level were her Guru, Rathna Kumar (nattuvangam), two wonderful singers J. Ramesh and Arun Mahadevan, the brilliant N. K. Kesavan (percussion), melody king B. Muthukumar (flute), Abhishek Balakrishnan (violin), Madhavi Josyula (Ela talam), and Venugopal Josyula (lighting). Together, they created magic and transported the audience to a higher plane. Houston’s own Arun and Abhishek made us proud by their excellent performance. Venu’s lighting was, to put it simply, perfect. Dr. Arundhati Harati was the Mistress of Ceremonies. Guru-sishya-orchestra – this was a three way match made in heaven, giving the audience profound joy, both visually and aurally. While presenting Isha with a well deserved Diploma, Rathna Kumar described her many exemplary qualities as a student and a dancer, and also spoke about the extraordinary contribution of all the musicians, especially the  incomparable trio from India, in raising the bar with each Arangetram.

Isha’s immensely expressive face, her mastery over technique, perfect stage presence, and excellent use of space, all added to one’s feeling that this was a professional dance performance, and not merely a debut! Kudos to Isha for her fabulous performance, to her parents, Drs. Sreeram and Sailaja Parupudi, for giving the world such a beautiful dancer, to the guru for training her student so impeccably, and to the members of the orchestra for their divine music!