“Perfection in Every Movement”

Tanya Roysam’s Arangetram Review

Photos: Murali Santhana

Photos: Murali Santhana

By Anu Mahesh

HOUSTON: Tanya Roysam’s arangetram had been an event we were all looking forward to for the last year and she did not disappoint! Tanya, a rising junior at Texas Academy for Math and Science, and daughter of Shantala and Badri Roysam, gave a three hour solo Bharatanatyam Arangetram performance at University of Houston, Clearlake on July 29th, 2018. She has been learning this ancient and revered form of art since the age of 6, starting with Guru Angana Patel in New York, and later continuing her training under Gurus Venugopal Joysula and Dr. Rathna Kumar since 2011. Guru Dr. Rathna Kumar has been instrumental in moulding Tanya into the beautiful dancer she is today.

The program began with an invocation song on Lord Ganesha by sweet little Pranathi Sira Rao. Tanya’s brother Tejas Roysam and friend, Rohini Khambampati were the Master/Mistress of the Ceremony for the evening. They introduced Tanya to the audience, to perform her first dance on Lord Ganesha, Gajavandana Beduve, in Adi Taalam and Hamsadhwani Raagam. This is an invocation piece symbolizing the offering of respects to both God and the audience, where Guru Rathna Kumar had artistically incorporated the Alarippu into its choreography. This was followed by the Jattiswaram, in Adi Taalam and Oormika Raaga, which was specially composed for her by the flautist Sri Muthu Kumar and Mridangist, Sri Kesavan Chenda.

Tanya had a tremendous start with these two pieces, showcasing her nritta, leaving us looking forward to the rest of the evening. She continued on with Saraswati Namostute, set in Roopaka Taalam, Saraswati Raagam. The central piece in Tanya’s Arangetram was the Varnam Mathe, comprised of several stories of Goddess Durga in all her glory as a loving daughter, Mother, and a relentless destroyer of her enemies to protect her children. Tanya’s abhinaya, depicting of Goddess Durga as the annihilator of the demons Chanda and Munda and Goddess Devi killing the demon Raktabija, along with Sri Kesavan Chenda’s magic on his percussion instruments gave a depth to the performance that left the audience at the edge of the seats. The Varnam is where the ability of a dancer to perform abhinaya and nritta are tested through very complex steps, movements, and expressions that require stamina and concentration. Tanya passed this test with flying colors, to a standing ovation.

She transitioned from the varnam to a Purandaradasa kriti, Adidhano Ranga, in Adi Taalam and Arabi Ragam, where she painted a vivid picture of Lord Krishna triumphantly dancing on the hoods of snake Kaliya. This was followed by an energetic Ananda Taandavam, in Adi Taalam and Kedaragowla Raagam. As Tanya wrapped up her recital with a Thillana and Mangalam, I watched with wonder how much she has matured over the years. It was a reminder that it is youth like her that are going to carry our culture and traditions into the future – they remain in good hands.

The thing that struck me most about Tanya’s Arangetram was how she illuminated the stage as she twirled around with invigorated energy and crisp footwork, paired with convincing abhinaya. The meticulous training imparted by Guru Rathna Kumar was clearly visible in Tanya’s performance, which was a testimony to her dedication, hard work, her passion for perfection and involvement in Bharatanatyam. Her performance was definitely elevated to another level by a delightful and accomplished orchestra comprised of Mr. Siva Prasad’s mellifluous voice, Maestro N.K.Kesavan’s bold and imaginative rhythms and Flautist Muthukumar’s melodious strains.

While the Roysams expressed their heartfelt thanks to family and friends that helped with making this event a success, Tanya’s friend Jvalanthi Prasad, shared her experience about their guru Dr. Rathna Kumar. Every little detail that evening was well planned and executed. Thanks to the audience who helped Tanya raise $800 for Houston SPCA in support of her favorite cause of rescuing animals. The magnificent décor in the foyer and on-stage was done by Vasundhara Kambhampati and Sheela Kavuri. The program ended with a sumptuous meal, catered by Udipi Café.

As Tanya’s brother, Tejas, rightly said “The thousands of hours and years and years of study and devotion Tanya has put into her art is not only a reflection of her sincere interest and enthusiasm for her culture, but is first and foremost the truest reflection of her life itself.” We wish her much success in all her future endeavors.