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Two dance recitals will be featured on consecutive weekends by the West Covina based, Natyanjali School of Dance, for dance patrons. An annual performance Samarpan and a dance debut by Priya Chandini Sharma. The three-hour bharatnatyam performances will kick off with an invitation only arangetram by Sharma. She will be performing the traditional format of margam, as set forth in one of India’s ancient treatise on the performing arts, Natya Shastra. Margam which means path, was established in the 18th century and involves the progression of independent dances sequentially arranged to display all components of the dance form. In Samarpan, audiences can expect to see 20 students assuming roles of mythological characters and Hindu gods and goddesses such as Shiva, Rama, and Parvati. Typical to the form, the dancers will be in full regalia with brightly colored costumes accented with flowers and shimmering head dresses, assuming poses with mainly bent knees while mingling complex footwork in geometric patterns. Another characteristic feature is the nritya or interpretation, of the background song with the dancer’s expressions, gestures and emotions.

Established in 1980, the school has endured shifts as students move away, go to college or get married, but continues to promote the dance originated in the temples of Tamil Nadu as a powerful medium of expression which is both educational and entertaining according to Krishnamurthi. But, the founder and choreographer concedes to the need of keeping up with generational advances in dance and music styles as well as audience need for variety, and has often enhanced her performance by peppering them with Western instrumentals.The Samarpan production exemplifies the synergy between East and West with its fusion blend of music for the pushpanjali and thillana presentations. Pushpanjali is the first performance marked with an offering of flowers and salutation to Indian deities, in particular to the lord of dance, the dancer’s teacher, the musicians and the audience, while thillana, the culminating piece will showcase dancers performing in synchrony.  Krishnamurthi aims to make the environment of music and dance “pleasant and enjoyable where one can glean a lot about Indian mythology, religion, history and music systems.”Natyanjali’s orchestra will be composed of Krishnamurthi on nattuvangam, Akshay Padmanabhan on vocals, R. Srihari on mridangam, the two-headed drum and Narasimhamurty Ramamishra on flute. Apart from her education in Karnatik music, Krishnamurthi has performed since the age of five with training in the Tanjor style of bharatnatyam. The school promotes solo dance debuts and thematic dance productions such as Krishna Leela, Paduka Pattabhishekam, Incarnations, Mystic Bride, and River of Dances among others.

July 12 Arangetram by Priya Chandini Sharma (Invitation Only).July 19, 5p.m. Sophia B. Clarke Theater Mt. San Antonio College 1100 N. Grand Ave.,Walnut. $20, $30, $50. Jeya Venugopalan 909-396-6872, Prabha Cadambi (714) 528-9146,

Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...